The general trend of increasing survival continued for patients diagnosed during 2006–2010
Survival is generally lower among older patients than younger patients
Five-year survival is over 80 per cent for cancers of the breast (women), prostate and testis, and for Hodgkin lymphoma and melanoma of skin
Five-year survival for cancers of the brain, lung, oesophagus, pancreas and stomach in both sexes is below 21 per cent; survival for pancreatic cancer remains the lowest in both sexes
This bulletin presents one-year and five-year net survival (per cent) for adults (aged 15–99 years) diagnosed with one of the 21 most common cancers in England during 2006–2010 and followed up to 31 December 2011 (see Background Notes 1–5). These cancers comprise over 90 per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers. Data are presented by sex, by age group and for all ages combined, both unstandardised and age-standardised (see Background Note 1).Back to table of contents
Figure 1 shows five-year net survival estimates for the 10 most common cancers, for men and for women diagnosed during 2006–2010. Figure 1a, in the associated data section of this publication, shows five-year net survival for all 21 common cancers, by sex, in rank order. Table 1 compares net survival estimates (with their 95 per cent confidence intervals) (see Background Note 6) for patients diagnosed with one of the 21 most common cancers during the period 2006–2010 with the corresponding values for patients diagnosed during 2005–2009 (Office for National Statistics, 2011) (see Background Note 7).
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 (Table 1). The largest increases in five-year survival, compared with the corresponding values for patients diagnosed during 2005–2009, were for men diagnosed with myeloma (an increase of 3.2 percentage points to 41.4 per cent), and for women diagnosed with colon cancer (survival rose 1.7 percentage points to 55.7 per cent), rectal cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (an increase of 1.6 percentage points to 58.1 and 66.7 per cent, respectively). Generally increasing trends were also seen for one-year survival (data not presented).
Five-year net survival is over 80 per cent for cancers of the breast (women), prostate and testis, and for Hodgkin lymphoma and melanoma of skin (Figure 1). Prognosis remains very poor for malignancies of the brain, lung, oesophagus, pancreas and stomach, ranging from 3.9 and 4.4 per cent for cancer of the pancreas in men and women, respectively, up to 17.3 and 20.4 per cent for brain tumours. For all other cancers, five-year survival ranges from 38.3 to 66.8 per cent.
Table 2 presents net survival at one and five years after diagnosis for each of the 21 most common cancers, by sex and age group, and for all ages combined, both un-standardised and age-standardised.
There are distinct patterns in net survival by age, with generally higher survival among younger patients and lower survival among older patients, even after taking account of the higher background mortality in the elderly. Breast cancer is a well-known exception to this pattern (Rachet et al., 2008); five-year net survival is lower for women aged 15–39 years at diagnosis (84 per cent) than for women aged 40–69 years (89 to 90 per cent). Similarly, for prostate cancer, five-year survival is somewhat lower for men aged 15–49 years (90 per cent) than for men aged 50–69 years (92 per cent).Back to table of contents
Key users of cancer survival estimates include the Department of Health, academics and researchers, cancer charities, cancer registries, other government organisations, researchers within ONS, the media, and the general public. The Department of Health uses cancer survival figures to brief parliamentary ministers, and as part of the evidence base to inform cancer policy and programmes, for example in drives to improve survival rates.
Cancer survival estimates will also be used to measure progress against NHS Outcomes Framework indicators. Academics and researchers use the figures to inform their own research. Similarly cancer registries and other government organisations use the figures to carry out individual and collaborative projects to apply subject knowledge to practice.
Charities use the data so they can provide reliable and accessible information about cancer to a wide range of groups, including patients and health professionals via health awareness campaigns and cancer information leaflets/web pages. Researchers within ONS use the data to support further research and to publish alongside other National Statistics.Back to table of contents
In ‘Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer’ (January 2011), the Department of Health stated that although improvements have been made in the quality of cancer services in England, a significant gap remains in survival compared with the European average. Survival estimates for cervical, colorectal and breast cancer are some of the lowest among Member States of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The strategy document sets out how the Department of Health aims to improve outcomes for all cancer patients and improve cancer survival, with the aim of saving an additional 5,000 lives every year by 2014/15.
Outcomes strategies set out how the NHS, public health and social care services will contribute to the ambitions for progress agreed with the Secretary of State in each of the high-level outcomes frameworks. The indicators set for the National Health Service (NHS) Outcomes Framework 2011/12 include one- and five-year net survival from colorectal, breast and lung cancers.Back to table of contents
The National Cancer Registry at the Office for National Statistics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine wish to acknowledge the work of the regional cancer registries in England, which provide the raw data for these analyses.Back to table of contents
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