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Cancer Survival in England: Patients Diagnosed 2005-2009 and Followed up to 2010

Released: 15 November 2011 Download PDF

Figure 1a. Five year age-standardised relative survival (percentage) for adults aged (15-99 years) diagnosed during 2005-2009 and followed up to 2010: England, 10 common cancers, by sex

Chart to show the five year age-standardised relative survival for adults diagnosed during 2005-2009 and followed up to 2010 in England

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Survival improved for patients diagnosed during 2005-2009

The most recent cancer survival figures in England are for one- and five-year relative survival for adults (15-99 years) diagnosed with one of the 21 most common cancers during 2005-2009 and followed up to 31 December 2010. Previous figures were released for adults diagnosed during 2004-2008 and followed up to 2009.

These cancers make up over 90 per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers. Survival for most of the 21 cancers in both sexes was higher for 2005-2009 than 2004-2008.

Five-year survival was 80 per cent or higher for five malignancies (testis, melanoma of skin, breast, Hodgkin lymphoma and prostate) and less than 20 per cent for cancers of the oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, lung and brain.

Women had higher five-year survival than men for most cancers, although women with bladder cancer had lower survival than men (50.2 per cent compared to 58.2 per cent).

The highest five-year survival for men was for testicular cancer, at 97.2 per cent, and in women, for malignant melanoma of the skin, at 91.6 per cent.

The lowest five-year survival was for men and women diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, at 3.6 per cent and 3.8 per cent, respectively. Patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer also had the lowest five-year survival in 2004-2008.

The most commonly diagnosed cancer in women was breast cancer, for which five-year survival was 85.1 per cent, slightly higher than for women diagnosed in 2004-2008.

The most common cancer for men was prostate cancer, for which five-year survival was 81.4 per cent, slightly higher than for men diagnosed in 2004-2008.

For most cancers, five-year survival is generally lower among the oldest patients. The main and well-known exceptions are for breast cancer in women and for prostate cancer.


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Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. This analysis is an update to: 'Survival Rates in England, patients diagnosed 2004-2008 followed up to 2009’, published on the Office for National Statistics website on 21 April 2011.

  2. Relative survival is the ratio of the observed survival in cancer patients and the survival that would have been expected had they been subject to the mortality rates of the general population. It is a means of accounting for background mortality and can be interpreted as the survival from cancer in the absence of other causes of death.

  3. The five-year relative survival estimates are for adults (aged 15-99 years) and have been age-standardised to control for changes in the age distribution of cancer patients over time. This enables the comparison of survival figures over time.

  4. Age-standardisation requires a survival estimate for each age group. Age-specific estimates may not be obtained if there are too few events (deaths) in a given age group; this can happen because survival is very high (there are very few deaths) or because it is very low (most of the patients die early in the five-year period of follow-up). When age-standardisation was not possible, un-standardised estimates are reported instead, italicised and underlined.

  5. Differences between the survival estimates in the two periods are reported as the simple arithmetic difference, e.g. 12 per cent is shown as 2 per cent (not 20 per cent) higher than 10 per cent.

  6. Cancer Survival, England, and England and Wales

    Cancer Survival by GOR, SHA and Cancer Network

    Long-term Breast Cancer Survival

    Cancer Survival, England and Wales, 1991-2001

  7. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

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