OBJECTIVES: Population-based survival statistics are fundamental to assess the efficacy of services offered to improve cancer patients' prognosis. This study aims to update cancer survival estimates for the Italian population, as well as provide new measures, such as the crude probability of death, which takes into account the possibility of dying from causes other than cancer, and the change in life expectancy after a cancer diagnosis, to properly address various questions. RESULTS: The study includes 1,932,450 cancer cases detected by the Network of Italian Cancer Registries (AIRTUM) from 1994 to 2011 and provides estimates for 38 cancer sites and for allsites cancer. For most common cancers diagnosed from 2005 to 2009, age-standardized 5-year net survival was: colon-rectum - males 65 females 65 lung - males 15 females 19 breast 87 prostate 91 For cancer sites such as stomach, colon, rectum, lung, skin melanoma, breast, cervix, prostate, and kidney, 5-year net survival is consistent between Central and Northern Italy, while it is a few percentage points lower in Southern Italy. Funnel plots expose these differences more in detail by showing the survival estimates in 13 Italian regions. For all sites but skin, 5- and 10-year net survival increased by about 10 percentage points in men and 7 points in women from 1994 to 2011. DISCUSSION: Specific articles deal with results on solid and haematological malignancies, international comparisons and analysis of time trends of incidence, mortality, and survival in combination for key cancer sites, aiming to interpret overall progress in the control of cancer in Italy.