Bowel cancer survival statistics

77% of men survive bowel cancer for at least one year, and this is predicted to fall to 59% surviving for five years or more, as shown by age-standardised Open a glossary item  net survival for patients diagnosed with bowel cancer during 2010-2011 in England and Wales.[1] Survival for women at one and five years is slightly lower, with 74% surviving for one year or more, and 58% predicted to survive for at least five years.

Bowel Cancer (C18-C20 and C21.8), Age-Standardised One-, Five- and Ten-Year Net Survival, Adults (Aged 15-99), England and Wales, 2010-2011

1-Year Survival (%) 5-Year Survival (%) 10-Year Survival (%)
Men Net Survival 77.4 59.2 56.0
95% LCL 77.4 59.2 55.9
95% UCL 77.4 59.4 56.2
Women Net Survival 73.9 58.2 57.2
95% LCL 73.9 58.0 57.0
95% UCL 73.9 58.3 57.4
Adults Net Survival 75.7 58.7 56.6
95% LCL 75.7 58.6 56.4
95% UCL 75.7 58.8 56.7

95% LCL and 95% UCL are the 95% lower and upper confidence limits Open a glossary item.

Survival is a weighted average derived from data for colon (C18) and rectum cancer (C19-C20, C21.8)

Five- and ten-year survival is predicted using an excess hazard statistical model

Bowel cancer survival falls only slightly beyond five years after diagnosis, which means most patients can be considered cured after five years. 56% of men and 57% of women are predicted to survive their disease for ten years or more, as shown by age-standardised net survival for patients diagnosed with bowel cancer during 2010-2011 in England and Wales.[1] Out of 20 common cancers in England and Wales, ten-year survival for bowel cancer ranks 10th highest overall.

Bowel Cancer (C18-C20 and C21.8), Net Survival up to Ten Years after Diagnosis, Adults (Aged 15-99), England and Wales, 2010-2011

Survival is a weighted average derived from data for colon (C18) and rectum cancer (C19-C20, C21.8)

Survival for bowel cancer is reported in Scotland and Northern Ireland,[2,3] though it is difficult to make survival comparisons between countries due to different methodologies and criteria for including patients in analyses.

References

  1. Data were providede by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on request, 2014. 
  2. ISD Scotland. Trends in Cancer Survival 1983-2007
  3. Northern Ireland Cancer Registry. Incidence & Survival 1993-2012.
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Five-year survival for bowel cancer shows an unusual pattern with age: survival overall decreases with increasing age, though in women aged 50-59 and men and women aged 60-69, there is a slight increase compared with the preceding age group. Five-year net survival in men ranges from 69% in 15-39 year-olds to 46% in 80-99 year-olds for patients diagnosed with bowel cancer in England during 2009-2013.[1] In women, five-year survival ranges from 71% to 42% in the same age groups. The slightly higher survival in 60-69 year-olds is likely to be associated with bowel cancer screening in this age group.

Bowel Cancer (C18-C20 and C21.8), Five-Year Net Survival by Age, England, 2009-2013

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As with most cancers, survival for bowel cancer is improving. One-year age-standardised Open a glossary item net survival for bowel cancer in men has increased from 47% during 1971-1972 to 77% during 2010-2011 in England and Wales – an absolute survival difference Open a glossary item of 30 percentage points.[1] In women, one-year survival has increased from 45% to 74% over the same time period (a difference of 29 percentage points).

Bowel Cancer (C18-C20 and C21.8), Age-Standardised One-Year Net Survival, Adults (Aged 15-99), England and Wales, 1971-2011

Survival is a weighted average derived from data for colon (C18) and rectum cancer (C19-C20, C21.8)

Five-year age-standardised Open a glossary item net survival for bowel cancer in men has increased from 25% during 1971-1972 to a predicted survival of 59% during 2010-2011 in England and Wales – an absolute survival difference of 35 percentage points.[1] In women, five-year survival has increased from 24% to 58% over the same time period (a difference of 34 percentage points).

Bowel Cancer (C18-C20 and C21.8), Age-Standardised Five-Year Net Survival, Adults (Aged 15-99), England and Wales, 1971-2011

Survival is a weighted average derived from data for colon (C18) and rectum cancer (C19-C20, C21.8).

Five-year survival for 2010-2011 is predicted using an excess hazard statistical model.

Ten-year survival has followed the same trend as one- and five-year survival since the early 1970s. Ten-year age-standardised Open a glossary item net survival for bowel cancer in men has increased from 22% during 1971-1972 to a predicted survival of 56% during 2010-2011 in England and Wales – an absolute survival difference of 35 percentage points.[1] In women, ten-year survival has increased from 22% to 57% over the same time period (a difference of 35 percentage points). Overall, nearly 6 in 10 people diagnosed with bowel cancer today are predicted to survive their disease for at least ten years.

Bowel Cancer (C18-C20 and C21.8), Age-Standardised Ten-Year Net Survival, Adults (Aged 15-99), England and Wales, 1971-2011

Survival is a weighted average derived from data for colon (C18) and rectum cancer (C19-C20, C21.8).

Ten-year survival for 2005-2006 and 2010-2011 is predicted using an excess hazard statistical model.

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Survival for bowel cancer is strongly related to stage of the disease at diagnosis.

One-year relative survival for bowel cancer is highest for patients diagnosed at stage I, and lowest for those diagnosed at stage IV, 2012 data for England show.[1] 98% of patients diagnosed at stage I survived their disease for at least one year, versus 46% of patients diagnosed at stage IV.[1

One-year relative survival for unknown stage bowel cancer is 64%. Lack of staging information may in some cases reflect advanced stage at diagnosis: for example very unwell patients may not undergo staging tests if the invasiveness of the testing outweighs the potential benefit of obtaining stage information.[1]

Bowel Cancer (C18-C20), One-Year Relative Survival by Stage, Adults (Ages 15-99 Years), England 2012

One-year relative survival is similar between men and women at all stages.
 

For patients diagnosed at stage II or stage IV, one-year relative survival is significantly higher among patients in the most deprived areas versus those in the least deprived areas, with absolute survival differences of 4 and 8 percentage points respectively. One-year survival is similar between deprivation groups at all other stages.[1]

Five-year survival for bowel cancer shows a much more rapid decrease in survival between Stages I and IV. In men, five-year relative survival ranges from 95% at Stage I to 7% at Stage IV for patients diagnosed during 2002-2006 in the former Anglia Cancer Network.[2] In women, five-year survival ranges from 100% at Stage I to 8% at Stage IV. There are no significant differences in five-year survival between men and women at any of the stages.

Bowel Cancer (C18-C20), Five-Year Relative Survival by Stage, Adults (Aged 15-99 Years), Former Anglia Cancer Network, 2002-2006

References

  1. National Cancer Intelligence Network.Cancer survival in England by stage 2012. London: NCIN; 2014.
  2. Data were provided by The National Cancer Registration  Service, Eastern Office on request. Similar data can be found here: http://ecric.org.uk/
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Comparison of both colon and rectal cancer survival rates across Europe shows significant inter-country differences.[1] It has been suggested that the poorer survival in the UK compared with the rest of western Europe relates to late presentation or delay in treatment,[2] but caution needs to be exercised in interpreting these variations.[3] However, the existence of differences in survival over time and place suggest that there are ways in which the prognosis could be improved in countries such as the UK.

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There is also an advantage of between 5% and 9% in five-year relative survival for the most affluent patients compared with the most deprived groups.[1]

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Cancer Statistics Explained

See information and explanations on terminology used for statistics and reporting of cancer, and the methods used to calculate some of our statistics.

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