Published: Thu, February 01, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Global cancer survival rates improve, but gaps remain

Global cancer survival rates improve, but gaps remain

Similarly, five-year survival for the most common type of childhood cancer - acute lymphoblastic leukaemia - rose to higher than 90 per cent in Canada, the USA and nine European countries, but remained below 60 per cent in China and Mexico.

The study also found significant variation worldwide in five-year survival among children diagnosed with the most common type of childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

A new study published by The Lancet Tuesday shows a tremendous amount of variability in five-year cancer survival rates between countries.

CONCORD-3 is a global programme for worldwide surveillance of cancer survival, led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Five-year survival rates for women's breast cancer are at 89 percent in Finland, compared with 89.5 percent in Australia and 90.2 percent in the US.

In the UK and North America UK, 5-year survival is higher than 90%, but remains below 60% in China, Mexico, and Ecuador. These patients were from 71 countries and territories.

"Monitoring global trends in cancer survival is vital when assessing the effectiveness of health care systems throughout the world". The cases come to us at third or four stages where treatment is hard.

Cancer survival rates are increasing across the world but large gaps endure between nations, while some cancers remain hard to treat everywhere, according to a major review.

The study includes 18 cancers of the oesophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, lung, breast (women), cervix, ovary, prostate, and melanoma of the skin in adults, and brain tumours, leukaemias, and lymphomas in both adults and children.


Sara Hiom, director of early diagnosis at Cancer Research UK, said the improvements are encouraging, but that more needs to be done to tackle cancers with stubbornly low survival.

Liver cancer survival increased from 11% to 27% in South Korea, and lung cancer survival increased from 8% to 20% in China.

Many improvements were also seen for some cancers where survival has tended to be much lower than for others, such as liver and lung cancer.

The study said that for most cancers, five-year net survival remains among the highest in the world in the United States and Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

Cancer specialists attribute several reasons for a low survival rate in India.

"This is not surprising - lack of awareness about early symptoms and delayed diagnosis contributes to poor survival rates", said Chinmoy Bose, professor and medical oncologist at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute, Calcutta, who was not associated with the study. CONCORD-2, which built on the initial program, identified survival disparities among included countries; CONCORD-3 builds on data from CONCORD-2 and includes information from almost 1 billion individuals worldwide.

"After that unavailability of financial resources makes survival rates worse and this is true for all cancers in India".

Policies to influence lifestyle changes and reduce cancer risk are, therefore, critical, highlights IARC.In India, the use of chewing tobacco was a leading cause of economic loss due to premature mortality from cancers of the lip and oral cavity.

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