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Eur J Cancer. 2004 Feb;40(3):326-35.

Period analysis for 'up-to-date' cancer survival data: theory, empirical evaluation, computational realisation and applications.

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Department of Epidemiology, German Centre for Research on Ageing, Bergheimer Str 20, D-69115, Heidelberg, Germany.


Long-term survival rates are the most commonly used outcome measures for patients with cancer. However, traditional long-term survival statistics, which are derived by cohort-based types of analysis, essentially reflect the survival expectations of patients diagnosed many years ago. They are therefore often severely outdated at the time they become available. A couple of years ago, a new method of survival analysis, denoted period analysis, has been introduced to derive more 'up-to-date' estimates of long-term survival rates. We give a comprehensive review of the new methodology, its statistical background, empirical evaluation, computational realisation and applications. We conclude that period analysis is a powerful tool to provide more 'up-to-date' cancer survival rates. More widespread use by cancer registries should help to increase the use of cancer survival statistics for patients, clinicians, and public health authorities.

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