Global patterns of cancer survival

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Background

Worldwide data for cancer survival are scarce. We aimed to initiate worldwide surveillance of cancer survival by central analysis of population-based registry data, as a metric of the effectiveness of health systems, and to inform global policy on cancer control.


Methods

Individual tumour records were submitted by 279 population-based cancer registries in 67 countries for 25·7 million adults (age 15—99 years) and 75 000 children (age 0—14 years) diagnosed with cancer during 1995—2009 and followed up to Dec 31, 2009, or later. We looked at cancers of the stomach, colon, rectum, liver, lung, breast (women), cervix, ovary, and prostate in adults, and adult and childhood leukaemia. Standardised quality control procedures were applied; errors were corrected by the registry concerned. We estimated 5-year net survival, adjusted for background mortality in every country or region by age (single year), sex, and calendar year, and by race or ethnic origin in some countries. Estimates were age-standardised with the International Cancer Survival Standard weights.


Findings

5-year survival from colon, rectal, and breast cancers has increased steadily in most developed countries. For patients diagnosed during 2005—09, survival for colon and rectal cancer reached 60% or more in 22 countries around the world; for breast cancer, 5-year survival rose to 85% or higher in 17 countries worldwide. Liver and lung cancer remain lethal in all nations: for both cancers, 5-year survival is below 20% everywhere in Europe, in the range 15—19% in North America, and as low as 7—9% in Mongolia and Thailand. Striking rises in 5-year survival from prostate ...