About this release

Three publications have been released by Public Health Scotland (PHS) providing survival analyses using data on patients from the ovarian cancer Quality Performance Indicators dataset. Two separate cohorts have been published with different lengths of follow-up. Patients diagnosed October 2013 to September 2016, followed up to end of December 2017 and end of March 2021; and patients diagnosed October 2016 to September 2018, followed up to end of September 2020.

One of the main purposes of these reports was to examine whether the survival outcomes for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer and treated by the three regional cancer networks (the NCA (North Cancer Alliance); SCAN (South East Scotland Cancer Network) and WoSCAN (West of Scotland Cancer Network) regional cancer networks) were equitable, or whether there were any survival differences across Scotland.

Main points

For the earlier three-year cohort of women (diagnosed October 2013 to September 2016):

  • Survival for women with ovarian cancer was worse in NCA than in SCAN and WoSCAN (29% of women alive in NCA four years after diagnosis compared with 42% and 43% alive in SCAN and WoSCAN, respectively).
  • The differences in survival were apparent within one year of diagnosis.
  • This is partly because women in NCA were less likely to be operated on (46%) than in SCAN (75%) and WoSCAN (66%).
  • There were 1,377 cases of ovarian cancer eligible for inclusion in the survival analysis of the earlier cohort, with 352 (26%) women in NCA, 350 (25%) in SCAN and 675 (49%) in WoSCAN, respectively.

For the later two-year cohort of women (diagnosed October 2016 to September 2018):

  • Although survival for women in NCA appeared to be lower at three years (3-yr survival: NCA: 44%, SCAN: 51% and WoSCAN: 49%), this was not statistically significant and longer follow-up of this later cohort will be needed to determine whether or not there are any significant differences in the survival of women treated in the three cancer networks.
  • There remained differences in surgical practice between the three networks, with the proportion of patients in NCA receiving surgery (51%) significantly lower than in the other two networks: SCAN operated on 70%, and WoSCAN operated on 65% of their patients, respectively.
  • There were 978 cases of ovarian cancer were eligible for inclusion in this survival analysis, with 262 (27%) women in NCA, 283 (29%) in SCAN and 433 (44%) in WoSCAN, respectively, diagnosed in the later cohort.


These reports were initially released as Management Information in September 2020, February 2021 and November 2021. 

The data are derived from the ovarian cancer dataset, part of the National Cancer Quality Performance Indicators which have been developed to support continuous quality improvement in cancer care. NHS boards are required to report these indicators against a clinically agreed indicator specific target as part of the mandatory national cancer quality programme.

Note the data analysed within the cancer QPIs are not directly comparable to those reported by the Scottish Cancer Registry in PHS as only patients who receive definitive cancer treatment within NHS Scotland will be included in the QPIs dataset, unlike the SCR data which includes all patients diagnosed within Scotland, providing population-based incidence data.

As a result of this, the cancer survival figures reported here for the cancer QPIs are not directly comparable to the overall population survival routinely reported by PHS.

Further information

Additional survival data for ovarian cancer will be published in Summer 2022.

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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: 13 June 2022
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