Improved cancer survival in England, data show

Author: Ingrid Torjesen

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Cancer survival rates in England have improved since the beginning of the decade and there has been a decrease in geographical variation in survival rates, figures* from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown.

Between 2001 and 2016 the one-year all-cancer survival index for England increased from 62.0% to 72.8%. At the same time the difference in the all-cancer index between the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) with the lowest net survival estimate and the highest net survival estimate narrowed from 16.0 percentage points in 2001 to 9.7 percentage points in 2016, indicating less geographic inequality across CCGs.

However, changes in geographical inequity in survival varied for different types of cancer. While geographic inequality across CCGs for one-year net survival in breast and colorectal cancer reduced in 2016 compared with 2001, inequality in lung cancer net survival increased. In 2016, Medway CCG had the lowest one-year net survival estimates for lung cancer at 30.7% while in Central London CCG one-year survival was 53.8%

This is the first time that one, five and 10-year net survival has been included for the 19 Cancer Alliance areas and they show that one, five and ten-years survival from all cancers have also increased and geographical differences between the regions have narrowed.

Between 2001 and 2016, one-year survival showed a narrowing in range from 7.6 percentage points to 3.6 percentage points, whilst between 2001 and 2012, five-year survival showed a narrowing in range from 8.1 percentage points to 4.0 percentage points.  In 2001, 10-year survival varied between 34.3% and 42.7%, a difference of 8.4 percentage points, while in 2007 survival ranged from 41.4% to 46.7%, a difference of 5.3 percentage points. Throughout 2001 to 2007, the Cancer Alliances with the lowest 10-year all-cancer survival estimate was North Central and North East London, and that with the highest estimate was Wessex.

*Index of cancer survival for Clinical Commissioning Groups in England: adults diagnosed 2001 to 2016 and followed up to 2017. Office for National Statistics, 1 April 2019.


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