In England in 2018, 55% of cancers diagnosed and recorded as stage I-IV were recorded as stages I and II, ranging from 48% in some Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to 64% in others. The figures, released by Public Health England (PHE), are comparable to the previous year (2017) when the unadjusted percentage was 54%, ranging from 47% to 60%.
The percentage of cancers diagnosed at stages I and II varied by cancer site and ranged from 13.5% of cancers of the oropharynx, base of tongue, tonsil, soft palate and uvula to 92.0% of testicular cancers.
More than 75% of the following cancers were diagnosed at stage I or II: melanoma (89.2%), thyroid (88.9%), breast (85.8%), uterus (80.8%), cervix (80.3%) and bladder (75.8%).
The percentages for renal (except renal pelvis), prostate, and the laryngeal cancers (including anterior surface of the epiglottis) were 56.9%, 54.6%, and 50.9%, respectively.
Of cancers of the oral cavity, hard palate and lip (inner aspect), 46.5% were diagnosed at stage I or II, similar to percentages for Hodgkin lymphoma (45.2%) and cancer of the colon (45.0%) and the rectum and rectosigmoid junction (43.0%). Forty per cent of cancer of the ovary or fallopian tube and primary peritoneal carcinomas were diagnosed at stage I or II. This dropped to 30% for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Percentages fell to below 30 for cancers of the lung (28.9%), stomach excluding cardia and gastroesophageal junction (27.4%), pancreas (22.6%), and the oesophagus including cardia and gastroesophageal junction (21.5%).
The data suggest there is a need for greater awareness of the early symptoms and signs of some common cancers.