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Eur J Cancer. 1998 Dec;34(14 Spec No):2191-6.

Variation in survival of patients with lung cancer in Europe, 1985-1989. EUROCARE Working Group.

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Eindhoven Cancer Registry, The Netherlands.


In this study, we report on the variation in the prognosis for adult patients with lung cancer within Europe, by age, histology and country from 1985-1989. We considered trends in survival since 1978 for most countries. Survival analysis was carried out on 173,448 lung cancer cases diagnosed between 1985 and 1989 in 44 population-based cancer registries, participating in the EUROCARE study. Relative 1-year survival rates for patients with lung cancer varied from 24 to 40%, being highest in Finland, France, The Netherlands and Switzerland and lowest in Denmark, England, Poland and Scotland. Half of all patients under the age of 45 years died within 1 year of diagnosis, increasing to almost 80% for those aged 75 years or older. Whilst the prognosis for patients with non-small cell carcinoma remained more or less constant between 1978 and 1989 (25% in Denmark and 44% in Finland), that for patients with small cell carcinoma improved slightly, especially in The Netherlands (Eindhoven from 17 to 24%) and Switzerland (Geneva from 24 to 32%). In conclusion, a fairly large variation in lung cancer relative survival rates existed between European countries. The most likely explanation for the differences is the variation in access to specialised care. Except for a slight improvement in short-term survival for patients with small cell lung cancer, survival has remained poor since 1978.

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