Intended for healthcare professionals


Cancer survival data emphasise importance of early diagnosis

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 25 January 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l408
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

Robust cancer survival estimates according to stage at diagnosis have been published by the Office for National Statistics for the first time.1

They show, as expected, that for most cancers survival at one and five years is much higher if the cancer is detected early (at stage 1) than if it is detected later. This re-emphasises the need for early diagnosis.

For some cancers, however, the stage of detection is less important. Prostate cancer, for example, has extremely high one year survival rates (around 100%) whether it is detected in stages 1, 2, or 3, falling to 87.6% if detected in stage 4. Five year survival follows a similar but steeper decline—100% or near for stages …

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