DAVIS (CBS13) — A study by UC Davis has found cancer survival rates in the state of California improved over the course of 20 years.

The study compared the relative survival rates of people diagnosed with cancer between 1990 and 1994 to those diagnosed between 2006 and 2010. Those rates rose from 58 to 65 percent.

READ THE STUDY: Cancer Survival in California (UC Davis study)

Early diagnosis is cited as a major reason for the improved survival rates. The earlier a case was diagnosed, the longer someone was likely to survive. This was especially true with colorectal cancer, where the survival rate plummets from 91.1 percent for patients with a Stage 1 diagnosis to just 12 percent with a Stage 4 diagnosis.

Improved survival rates show progress in cancer science, but aren’t a panacea. Lung cancer survival rates are still at 44.2 percent after the first year and fall to 17.2 percent at the five-year mark.

The study used “relative survival” to determine how much longer people have lived since their diagnosis. A 91.1 percent diagnosis doesn’t mean 91 percent of people diagnosed survived, rather it means they were 91 percent as likely to survive as people who share the same sex, race and age.

The study also found disparities in how long people survived based on race. African-American survival rates lagged in many of the cancers studied.