According to a global analysis, 5-year cancer survival rates are highest in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The analysis, which used data from 322 population-based registries in 71 countries, was published in The Lancet.1

The CONCORD program was established to monitor the rates of cancer survival worldwide. CONCORD-2, which built on the initial program, identified survival disparities among included countries; CONCORD-3 builds on data from CONCORD-2 and includes information from nearly 1 billion individuals worldwide.

Over the 15-year period between 2000 and 2014, 37.5 million people included in CONCORD-3 were diagnosed with 1 of 18 common cancers, which together represent 75% of all cancers diagnosed each year. Five-year survival rates were compared among the included countries.

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Of the 71 included countries, 31 were in Europe; 47 countries provided data for 100% of the population. In others the population coverage ranged from 0.1% (India) to 86% (United States).

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While 5-year survival rates are increasing internationally, many disparities were found: the survival rates for breast cancer, for example, ranged from 66.1% in India to 90.2% in the United States. Survival with gastrointestinal cancers was highest in countries in Southeast Asia, though these countries showed lower survival rates for melanoma and hematologic malignancies.

Pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia or brain cancer had the highest survival rates in Nordic countries.

The authors noted that, after a 2000 publication noted low cancer survival rates in Denmark, the country introduced a number of national cancer plans; the current analysis showed that Denmark is now rapidly closing its survival discrepancy with other Nordic countries.

The authors concluded that governments should “recognise that population-based cancer registries are key policy tools, both to monitor the impact of cancer prevention strategies and to evaluate the effectiveness of the health system for all patients diagnosed with cancer.”


  1. Allemani C, Matsuda T, Di Carlo V, et al. Global surveillance of trends in cancer survival 2000–14 (CONCORD-3): analysis of individual records for 37 513 025 patients diagnosed with one of 18 cancers from 322 population-based registries in 71 countries. Lancet. 2018 Jan 30. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)33326-3 [Epub ahead of print]