Cancer survival in England is improving but still lags behind several other countries, according to new research.

The analysis, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, looked at net survival in 1.9 million patients with stomach, colon, rectum, lung, breast and ovary cancer in England between 1995-2012. Trends between 1995-2009 were compared with Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Between 2005-2009 survival from all studied cancers was lower in England than in Australia, Canada, Norway and Sweden. Compared to Denmark, survival was only higher for stomach and breast cancer in England.

However, survival for some cancers improved more in England than in other countries. One-year survival from stomach, rectal, lung, breast and ovarian cancer improved more than in Australia and Canada.

Improvement in lung cancer survival has also accelerated in recent years, with average annual improvement in one-year survival rising to 2% during 2010-2012 – but survival in this area improved more in Denmark.

Sara Hiom of Cancer Research UK, who helped fund the study, says: “Not only is England struggling to excel on an international level – there’s also too much variation across the country in the speed with which patients are diagnosed and whether they can get the treatments they need.”

“The good news is that it seems previous improvements – in cancer awareness, services and treatments – mean we’re now seeing some improvements in survival. But we must do more of what we’re learning works. This means providing world-class funding for our cancer services, and these services working together more effectively, if we want to achieve world class cancer survival.”