CANCER survival rates have significantly improved since the year 2000 in England, as outlined by data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which compared patients diagnosed with cancer in the year 2015 with those diagnosed in 2000. The statistics also showed that variations between regions were reduced between the two periods.
The statistical bulletin, published on the ONS website on 29th November 2017, focussed on 1-year survival rates in three areas: for all cancers combined, for breast, colorectal, and lung cancer separately, and for these three cancers combined. They were measured using the cancer survival index, which combines the net survival estimates for sex, age group, and type of cancer for each calendar year.
The 1-year survival rates for all cancers increased from 61.2% in those diagnosed in 2000 to 72.3% in patients diagnosed in 2015. Additionally, variations between the lowest and highest survival rate for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), known as NHS bodies that plan healthcare services in their local area, narrowed from ranging between 49.5% and 66.6% in 2000 to between 67.0% and 77.4% in 2015. Generally, the 1-year survival index was higher in the South of England than the North.
Age-standardised breast cancer survival rates at 1-year increased from 92.8% to 96.7%, for colorectal cancer it was 72.6% to 80.4%, and for lung cancer it was 25.7% to 40.7%, in 2000 and 2015, respectively.
Despite these positive data, cancer survival rates remain significantly lower than the European average, and further work is required to make improvements. Simon Stevens, Chief Executive England spoke about this issue at the recent ‘War on Cancer’ event organised by The Economist: “The good news on cancer care is that the quality of care and cancer survival rates are not only the highest they’ve ever been, but are improving. However, our analysis is that we can do better given the current state of knowledge,” he commented. “Frankly, the biggest thing the health service has got to do is get early diagnosis right, because early diagnosis is absolutely essential to improving outcomes.
James Coker, Senior Editorial Assistant
To access the full ONS report, click here.