Men diagnosed with prostate cancer early can expect to live longer than those without the disease, new figures show.
Spotting the cancer at stage one meant they were 0.5 % more likely to be alive a year later than those who had never had it.
Women diagnosed with breast cancer and all adults with skin cancer have the same chance of being alive a year later if the diseases are caught at the earliest opportunity, the data shows.
Experts suggest that early diagnoses – which are easiest to treat – can also prompt people to adopt healthier lifestyles. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures are the first detailed estimates to show how the survival rates for a number of cancers vary, depending on the stage it is diagnosed.
Data shows that of the 200,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer from 2012-2016, 30 % were diagnosed at stage one compared to 19 % at stage two and 18 % at stages three and four.
Survival rates for stages one and two a year later were more than 100 %, meaning that fewer men with prostate cancer died than expected when compared with the general population. Five-year survival estimates were over 100 % for stages one and two, with good survival at stage three – 96.5 %– but a drop to 47.7 % at stage four.
The Mail has been campaigning for improvements in prostate care, although earlier diagnosis and breakthroughs in treatment have seen overall survival rates across all stages rise from 80.2 % in 2006 to 87.1 % now. Karen Stalbow, of Prostate Cancer UK, said the findings were ‘certainly positive’, but added: ‘Nearly 40 % of cases of the disease are still only caught at a late stage when the chances of living for five or ten years are greatly reduced.
‘Overall, we need to find better diagnostic tools to catch more prostate cancers early, and determine which cancers are aggressive and which are not.’
Improvements have been made for those with breast cancer, with an overall five-year survival rate of 85.3 %. When caught at stage one, the survival rate is 98.8 % but falls to 27.9 % at stage four, the figures show.
Pancreatic cancer remains the most deadly, a with five-year survival rate of just 6.4 per cent for men and 7.5 per cent for women. Melanoma – or skin cancer – has the best survival rate, with 93.9 % of women and 89.2 % of men still alive five years later.
Sarah Caul of the ONS said higher survival figures could ‘partly’ be explained by earlier diagnosis of prostate and breast cancer, but added the research presents a ‘mixed picture’.