This site is intended for health professionals only

Survival rate three times higher if cancer detected early

Patients are three times more likely to survive some of the most common cancers if the disease is diagnosed in the early stages.

The figures, from Cancer Research UK, 80% of patients survive for at least 10 years when the disease is diagnosed at stage one or two - the earlier stages of the disease. Survival falls to around 25% in patients who are diagnosed at stage three or four.

These people had one of eight common cancers: bladder, bowel, breast, cervical, womb, malignant melanoma, ovarian and testicular cancers, which together account for more than 40% of all cancer cases in the UK.

Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK's director of early diagnosis, said: “Thanks to research, cancer survival has doubled in the last 40 years. But one-in-two people will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives.

The stage of a cancer is based on how large the tumour is and how far it has spread in the body. One of the main reasons that early diagnosis improves survival is that more treatment options are available to patients when the disease is in its early stages and they are more effective.

“These figures show the prize on offer if we can diagnose more cancers earlier,” she added.