Global cancer survival rates improve, but wide gaps remain between countries

Wednesday, 31 Jan, 2018

And brain tumor survival in children improved in many countries, but five-year survival is twice as high in Denmark and Sweden (around 80 percent) than it is in Mexico and Brazil (less than 40 percent) for children diagnosed as recently as 2014. The fact is specifically true in developed countries and it is less in developing countries.

After taking into account a number of factors, the investigators found that survival for most of the cancers included in the study has been consistently high over the last 15 years in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Sweden.

Not all major cancers have seen such improvements.

CANCER survival rates in Britain are falling behind most other comparable countries, a report has revealed.

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

Lead author of the study denotes that there is progress in cancer survival rates but with limitation.

"For most cancers, five-year net survival remains among the highest in the world in the U.S. and Canada, in Australia and New Zealand, and in Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden".

It said 72,000 of Brits with brain cancer between 2000-2014 had just a 26.3 per cent chance of surviving five years.

Between 1995 and 2014, liver cancer survival increased in South Korea (from 11 to 27 per cent), Sweden (5 to 17 per cent), and Portugal (8 to 19 per cent).

"Greater worldwide efforts are needed to understand the risk factors for this rapidly lethal cancer and to improve prevention, early diagnosis and treatment", said co-author Michel Coleman from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The most progress was seen in China (from 8 to 20 per cent), Japan (23 to 33 per cent), and South Korea (10 to 25 per cent).

The most common cancers in Finland during this period include prostate cancer, with a 93 percent five-year survival rate, and colorectal cancer, at 65 percent.

"Greater global efforts are needed to understand the risk factors for this rapidly lethal cancer", said co-author Michel Coleman, a researcher at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

For this study, an worldwide team of researchers reviewed more than 300 cancer registries from 71 countries.

Thirty-one European countries were included, along with 17 from Asia and 13 from Latin America. Not all countries were able to provide exhaustive data, however, as for example, there is no information on childhood cancer in the study from any country in Africa.

"Despite more than 20 years of advocacy for. fully functional cancer registries, both political and financial support remains woeful", said Richard Sullivan, a professor at Kings Health Partners Comprehensive Cancer Centre in London.