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Acta Oncol. 1999;38 Suppl 12:1-103.

Survival of cancer patients in Finland 1955-1994.

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Finnish Cancer Registry, Helsinki.



The study of survival of cancer patients is essential for monitoring the effectiveness of cancer control. The previous monograph describing cancer patient survival in Finland was published by the Finnish Cancer Registry in 1981 and covered patients diagnosed in 1953-1974. This new supplement assesses cancer patient survival up to the year 1995.


The study includes over 560000 tumours registered at the Finnish Cancer Registry with a date of diagnosis between 1955 and 1994. Patients were followed up to the end of 1995. Trends in relative survival rates are studied over four 10-year diagnostic periods from 1955 to 1994. In addition, detailed results are presented for patients diagnosed during 1985-1994, including relative survival rates tabulated by stage, sex, and age. Additional sections describe differences in cancer patient survival according to social class and region of residence and a comparison of cancer patient survival in Finland to other European countries.


Patient survival improved over time for almost all anatomical sites. The main exception is in cancer of the cervix uteri, where patient survival has decreased slightly from 1965-1974 to 1985-1994 due to the selective prevention of less aggressive tumours through cytologic screening. Very few differences in patient survival are observed between males and females. A substantial improvement in survival can be seen for childhood cancers.


The increasing survival rates reflect improvements that have taken place in various areas of cancer control, from health education and early diagnosis to treatment and aftercare. This study provides valuable reference information for both clinicians and health administrators, as well as a baseline for more detailed studies of patient survival for individual anatomical sites.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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