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Cancer

Volume 481: debated on Monday 20 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 10 September 2008, Official Report, column 1878W, on cancer, what percentage of cancer patients in each (a) cancer network and (b) primary care trust area survived five years beyond diagnosis. (226315)

I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated October 2008:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what percentage of cancer patients in each (a) cancer network and (b) primary care trust area survived five years beyond diagnosis [226315].

Cancer survival rates are only produced for specific cancers. A figure giving the overall survival rate for all cancer patients is not produced as it would not be meaningful to combine figures for disparate conditions having very different survival rates.

ONS regularly publishes five-year survival rates for patients resident in ‘Spearhead’ primary care trusts of England, compared with those resident in the rest of England. The latest figures on survival rates for ten cancers (bladder, breast, cervix, colon, lung, oesophagus, ovary, prostate, rectum and stomach) diagnosed during 1998-2003 and followed for survival up to the end of 2004, are in Table I below.

The figures are also available on the National Statistics website at: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=14821.

For added information to your question, the lowest geographical area for which rates are available are strategic health authority areas. Five-year survival rates for patients resident in government office regions, and strategic health authorities for eight cancers (bladder, breast, cervix, colon, lung, oesophagus, prostate and stomach) are available on the National Statistics website at: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk =11991&Pos=9&ColRank=l&Rank=272

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) does not produce survival rates by cancer network. However, the Cancer Survival Unit at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine published the following methodological paper in the ONS publication ‘Health Statistics Quarterly’:

Ellis L, Rachet B & Coleman MP. Cancer survival indicators by Cancer Network: a methodological perspective. Health Statistics Quarterly 2007; 36; 36-41.

Table 1: Five-year age-standardised1 relative survival2 (percentage) for adult3 patients diagnosed during 1998 to 2003 and followed up to the end of 2004, 10 common cancers, by sex: ‘Spearhead’ primary care trusts (PCTs)4 and rest of England5

Five-year relative survival (percentage)

Cancer6

Spearhead PCTs

Rest of England

Bladder

Men

57.1

60.4

Women

49.1

53.6

Persons

55.0

58.6

Breast

Women

78.2

79.8

Cervix

Women

63.3

62.7

Colon

Men

47.1

48.3

Women

47.9

49.6

Persons

47.4

48.9

Lung

Men

5.9

6.6

Women

7.5

7.6

Persons

6.6

6.9

Oesophagus

Men

7.4

8.8

Women

8.9

11.6

Persons

8.0

9.7

Ovary

Women

39.2

37.9

Prostate

Men

69.2

71.1

Rectum

Men

46.6

50.8

Women

50.1

53.7

Persons

47.7

52.1

Stomach

Men

12.6

13.0

Women

14.8

16.3

Persons

13.3

14.2

1 Cancer survival varies with age at diagnosis, so the survival rates for all ages (15 to 99 years) have been age-standardised to control for differences in the age profile of cancer patients between geographical areas.

2 Relative survival takes into account that some cancer patients will die from causes other than their cancer. It is the ratio of the crude survival to the survival in a corresponding (age and sex) group in the general population.

3 Aged 15 to 99 years at diagnosis.

4 On 19 November 2004, the Department of Health named the 88 most health-deprived primary care trusts (PCTs) in England included in the ‘Spearhead’ group.

5 All other primary care trusts (PCTs) in England not included in the ‘Spearhead’ group.

6 Cancers registered in 1998 to 2003 are defined by codes in the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Therefore, bladder cancer is defined by code C67, breast cancer by code C50, cervical cancer by code C53, colon cancer by code CI8, lung cancer by code C34, oesophageal cancer by code CI5, ovarian cancer by code C56, prostate cancer by code C61, rectal cancer by code C20 and stomach cancer by code CI6.