Survival statistics for the most common cancers
This page presents five year and ten year survival statistics for major cancers diagnosed in England and Wales.
Five year survival rates
Cancers are grouped into three survival bands: over 50%, 10- 50% and less than 10%. Of the twenty cancers studied, 7 cancers in women (49% of all cancer cases diagnosed in women) fell into the highest survival category, and 7 cancers for men (38% of all cancer cases diagnosed in men). For most types of cancer women have a small survival advantage over men.
In men, the highest five-year survival rate was for testicular cancer - 95% for men diagnosed during 2000-2001. The discovery of serum markers in the late 1960s and the introduction of combination chemotherapy in the 1970s have proved highly effective in treating testicular cancer. It is a comparatively rare tumour, with around 2,600 men diagnosed each year in the UK, but the majority of cases are diagnosed in men under 50, so many years of life can be saved by effective treatment.
For women, the highest five-year survival rate, at 90%, was for malignant melanoma. Around 4,800 men and more than 5,600 women were diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2006. Melanoma has the largest survival difference between men and women, at more than 10%.
Looking at all cancers combined the five-year relative survival rate has now reached 50%. The survival rate in women (56%) is higher than that in men (43%) and this is also the case for ten-year rates (39% vs.52%).
This section does not include any data on cancer survival in children. The childhood cancer section includes survival data on childhood cancers.
Ten year survival rates
Figure 1.2 shows the increase in ten-year survival rates from the 1970s to the present for the most common cancers. These rates were calculated as part of the review of the Cancer Research UK 2020 Goals in April 20102.
This analysis shows that whilst there has been improvement in survival for most cancers, for lung and pancreatic cancer there has been very little change and survival rates remain low. The highest survival rates are for testicular cancer, malignant melanoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
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