Three in every four people survive their cancer the first year after being diagnosed with rates of survival for some cancers even higher, according to figures out today.

NHS England has published a one year cancer survival index which looks at survival rates in 2020 compared to 2005. The index also breaks down the figures by types of cancer and where patients live.

The index shows the overall first year survival rate has risen 9% to 74.6%. The one year breast cancer survival index is now about 97% and for bowel cancer the survival rate is now above 80%.

These statistics focus on year one survival, and support statistics released in February which revealed five year survival rates have also improved for most types of cancer and child cancer survival rates were up to more than 86%.

Cancer diagnosis and treatment remained a top priority throughout the pandemic, with more than 7.3 million urgent referrals and over 1.6 million people receiving cancer treatment between March 2020 and January 2023.

Since the pandemic NHS England has continued to prioritise those waiting longer than 62 days for first treatment.

We making real progress in getting people the care they need more quickly and since July 2021 have opened 94 community diagnostic centres that have delivered 3.3 million checks, tests and scans.

Health Minister Helen Whately said:

These figures are highly encouraging and support those released earlier this year which show improved survival rates across almost all types of cancer. They are evidence of the great strides being made by the NHS, scientists and our incredible cancer charities.

We are laser focused on fighting cancer on all fronts – prevention, diagnosis, treatment, research and funding – and have opened over 94 ‘one stop shops’ so people can have quicker access to tests, scans and checks. We are also taking a vaccine taskforce style approach to cancer research to develop new immune-based cancer therapies, including cancer vaccines, as well as producing a major conditions strategy.

We know there is more to do and early diagnosis is crucial to improving survival rates even further. Our ambition is to diagnose 75% of cancer at an early stage by 2028 which will help save tens of thousands of lives for longer.

NHS England’s early diagnosis strategy has six core elements including raising awareness of cancer symptoms and encouraging people to come forward as well as implementing targeted interventions for particular cancer types which are traditionally difficult to diagnose.

More people are also taking up screening opportunities with 15 million invites in the past year.