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Summary: Cancer Survival in England: Patients Diagnosed, 2006–2010 and Followed up to 2011

Released: 23 October 2012 Download PDF

Figure 1: Five-year age-standardised net survival for adults diagnosed during 2006–2010 and followed up to 2011: England, 10 common cancers, by sex

Chart to show the five year age-standardised net survival for adults diagnosed during 2006–2010 and followed up to 2011
Source: Office for National Statistics


  1. Adults aged 15–99 years

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Survival continued to improve for patients diagnosed during 2006–2010

The chart shows the survival estimates for the 10 most common cancers for men and for women, aged 15–99 years. The most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in 2010 was breast cancer, for which five-year survival was 84.3 per cent. The most commonly diagnosed cancer in men was prostate cancer, for which five-year survival was 80.2 per cent. Five-year survival for both of these cancers was slightly higher than that for patients diagnosed in the previous five-year period (2005–2009).

This statistical release  presents five-year net survival figures for adults (aged 15–99 years) diagnosed with one of the 21 most common cancers during 2006–2010 and followed up to 31 December 2011. These cancers make up over 90 per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers. Tables and charts showing five-year net survival for each of the 21 most common cancers, by sex and age group, are available in the data section of this release .

The general trend of increasing five-year net survival (Rachet et al., 2009) continued for patients diagnosed during 2006–2010, with survival improving for all of the 21 most common cancers.

Five-year survival was over 80 per cent for cancers of the breast (women), prostate and testis, and for Hodgkin lymphoma and melanoma of the skin. Prognosis remained very poor, with five-year survival of below 21 per cent, for malignancies of the brain, lung, oesophagus, pancreas and stomach.

The largest increases in five-year survival, compared with the corresponding values for patients diagnosed during 2005–2009, were for men diagnosed with myeloma, and for women diagnosed with colon cancer, rectal cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Women had higher five-year survival than men for most cancers. Men had higher five-year survival for bladder cancer (57.8 per cent compared with 48.8 per cent) and myeloma (41.1 per cent compared with 38.3 per cent).

The highest five-year survival was for testicular cancer among men, at 96.7 per cent, and malignant melanoma of the skin among women, at 91.2 per cent. The lowest five-year survival among both women and men was for pancreatic cancer, at 3.9 and 4.4 per cent respectively. Patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer also had the lowest five-year survival in 2005–2009.

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


Rachet B, Maringe C, Nur U, Quaresma M, Shah A, Woods LM, Ellis L, Walters S, Forman D, Steward JA, Coleman MP (2009). ‘Population-based cancer survival trends in England and Wales up to 2007: an assessment of the NHS cancer plan for England’, The Lancet Oncology, 10, 351-369.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. Net survival is an estimate of the probability of survival from the cancer alone. It can be interpreted as the survival of cancer patients after taking into account the background mortality that the patients would have experienced if they had not had cancer.

  2. Net survival varies with age, and the age profile of cancer patients can vary with time and between geographical areas, so the estimates are age-standardised to facilitate comparison.

  3. Details of the revised statistical methods used in this analysis can be found in the full report for this release.

  4. All adults (aged 15–99 years) in England who were diagnosed during 2006–2010 with one of the 21 most common cancers as an invasive, primary, malignant neoplasm were eligible for analysis. Ineligible patients were those whose tumour was benign (not malignant) or in situ (malignant but not invasive) or of uncertain behaviour (uncertain whether benign or malignant), or for which the organ of origin was unknown.

  5. Cancers were defined by anatomic site codes in the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) and by morphology and behaviour codes in the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology, Second Edition (ICD-O-2).

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

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