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J Appl Stat. 2012;39(4):901-911. Epub 2012 Mar 12.

Change point-cure models with application to estimating the change-point effect of age of diagnosis among prostate cancer patients.

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1100 Fairview Ave N, M3-C102, PO Box 19024, Seattle WA 98117-1024, USA.

Abstract

Previous research on prostate cancer survival trends in the United States National Cancer Institute's Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results database has indicated a potential change-point in the age of diagnosis of prostate cancer around age 50. Identifying a change-point value in prostate cancer survival and cure could have important policy and health care management implications. Statistical analysis of this data has to address two complicating features: (1) change-point models are not smooth functions and so present computational and theoretical difficulties; and (2) models for prostate cancer survival need to account for the fact that many men diagnosed with prostate cancer can be effectively cured of their disease with early treatment. We develop a cure survival model that allows for change-point effects in covariates to investigate a potential change-point in the age of diagnosis of prostate cancer. Our results do not indicate that age under 50 is associated with increased hazard of death from prostate cancer.

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