About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides new information on cancer survival in Scotland for people diagnosed during 2015-19 (and followed until the end of 2020).

Main points

There was no evidence for any change in age-standardised net survival in 2019, compared to 2018, for any cancer sites. Data on those diagnosed in 2020 will be available for future releases.

Image caption Age-standardised net survival at 1 year after diagnosis, for cancers diagnosed in Scotland during 2010-2014 or 2015-2019

During the five-year period 2015-19, 141,572 adults were diagnosed with cancer (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers) in Scotland. For these patients:

  • Two thirds of men (69%) and women (72%) survived for at least one year, while 2 in 5 men (44%) and 1 in 2 women (51%) survived for at least five years.
  • However, an individual’s chance of survival depends largely on which cancer they have, with 1-year survival ranging from around 20% to almost 100%, for different types of cancer.

There was clear evidence for an improvement in 1-year survival for lung cancer (females and persons) and multiple myeloma (males and persons) between 2010-14 and 2015-19.

  • For lung cancer, the most recent estimates of 1-year age-standardised net survival were: 39% in men and 48% in women. This represents a significant increase in survival of 7 and 6 percentage points for women and persons respectively.
  • For multiple myeloma, the most recent estimates of 1-year age-standardised net survival were: 83% in men and women. This represents a significant increase in survival of 7 percentage points for men and persons respectively.

Reasons for improved cancer survival may include diagnosis at an earlier stage and use of more effective treatments. Anyone offered screening for cancer should be encouraged to take it up and anyone who is worried about symptoms should be encouraged to seek medical advice: the chances of surviving cancer in Scotland have never been better.


This publication uses the measure of survival - "age-standardised net survival" - which is considered the best way of understanding outcomes due to cancer itself rather than other factors (such as age and underlying background mortality).

Only persons aged 15-99 years old at diagnosis were included in these analyses. Note: survival cannot always be estimated due to small numbers.

Further information

The next release of this publication will be 28 March 2023.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact phs.cancerstats@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

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If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 07 October 2022
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