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NHS Report Shows Children’s Cancer Survival Rate Increases

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A new report from NHS Digital shows that the 5-year cancer survival rate for 0-14-year-olds increased over time, from 76.9% in 2002 to 85.2% in 2019, its highest recorded level. This increase also held for that age group across 1-year survival rates (89.7% in 2002 to 93.2% in 2019) and 10-year survival rates (74.6% in 2002 to 81.9% in 2019).

Childhood cancers accounted for 0.3% of all new cancer diagnoses registered in 2019, with most cases being leukaemia, malignant neoplasms of the brain or non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The Cancer Survival in England for Patients Diagnosed Between 2015 and 2019 publication uses National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) data. It provides information on survival rates for cancers in adults newly diagnosed between the 2015 and 2019 calendar years and in children newly diagnosed between 2002 and 2019 calendar years in England. 

Breakdowns for adult survival are available by geography, sex, deprivation and diagnosis stage.


For the first time, deprivation breakdowns have also been included in the report. This shows that for most cancer types, the net survival rate was lowest in the most deprived area and highest in the least deprived (net survival rate consistently decreases as deprivation increases).

The largest deprivation difference in 1-year age-standardised net survival rates was seen in women with bladder cancer. The variation was 13.4% between those living in the most deprived areas (58.4%) and those in the least deprived areas (71.8%). The report also shows that for cancers diagnosed between 2015 and 2019.

Survivability for adults

Skin cancer had the highest 5-year age-standardised net survival rate (94.8%). Pancreatic cancer and mesothelioma had the lowest 5-year age-standardised net survival rates, at 7.8% and 6.3%, respectively.

The increase and decrease in 5-year survival for several different cancers were also averaged over the ten different reporting periods for patients diagnosed between 2006–2010 and 2015–2019.  

This showed that for both males and females:

  • the biggest increase in survivability was in myeloma (average annual increases 1.0% for males and 1.4% for females)
  • the biggest decrease was bladder cancer (average annual decreases 0.5% for males and 0.6% for females).

Stage at diagnosis

5-year age-standardised net survival ranges from 3.2% for stage 4 lung cancer for males to over 100% for stage 1 melanoma for females.

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