Men with a diagnosis of prostate cancer may expect to live longer than those without the disease, new figures show.
Finding cancer at the first stage means that 0.5% is more likely to be alive a year later than those who have never had it.
Women with breast cancer diagnosis and all adults with skin cancer have the same opportunity to be alive a year later if the disease is caught at the earliest opportunity, data show.
Experts suggest that early diagnosis – which is the easiest to treat – can also prompt people to take a healthier lifestyle. National Statistics Office (ONS) data are the first detailed estimates that show how survival rates vary for a number of types of cancer, depending on the stage at which they are diagnosed.
Data show that of the 200,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer from 2012-2016, 30% were diagnosed in the first stage, compared with 19% in the second stage and 18% in stages 3 and 4.
Survival for stages 1 and 2 years later is over 100%, which means fewer men with prostate cancer die than expected compared to the general population. Five-year survival scores are over 100% for Stages 1 and 2, with good survival in Stage Three – 96.5% – but dropping to 47.7% in Stage Four.
The message fights for improvements in prostate care, although earlier diagnoses and treatment breakthroughs show an increase in overall survival at all stages from 80.2% in 2006 to 87.1% now. Karen Stallow of prostate cancer in the United Kingdom said the findings were "certainly positive," but added: "Almost 40% of the disease is still caught at a late stage when the chances of living for five or ten years are significantly reduced,
"In general, we need to find better diagnostic tools to catch more prostate cancer and determine which types of cancer are aggressive and which are not."
Improvements have been made for those with breast cancer, with a combined five-year survival of 85.3%. When captured in Stage 1, the survival rate was 98.8% but decreased to 27.9% in the fourth stage, data show.
Pancreatic cancer remains the most deadly, with a 5-year survival rate of only 6.4% for men and 7.5% for women. Melanoma – or skin cancer – has the best survival, with 93.9% of women and 89.2% of men still living five years later.
Sara Kaul of ONS said higher survival figures could be explained in part with an early diagnosis of prostate and breast cancer, but added that the study was a "mixed picture".