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BMC Cancer. 2016 Dec 3;16(1):933.

Analysing population-based cancer survival - settling the controversies.

Author information

1
Institute of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Vrazov trg 2, 1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia. maja.pohar@mf.uni-lj.si.
2
Université Claude Bernard, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Service de Biostatistique, 162 Avenue Lacassagne, 69003, Lyon, France.
3
Cancer Survival Group, Department of Non-Communicable Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, WC1E 7HT, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The relative survival field has seen a lot of development in the last decade, resulting in many different and even opposing suggestions on how to approach the analysis.

METHODS:

We carefully define and explain the differences between the various measures of survival (overall survival, crude mortality, net survival and relative survival ratio) and study their differences using colon and prostate cancer data extracted from the national population-based cancer registry of Slovenia as well as simulated data.

RESULTS:

The colon and prostate cancer data demonstrate clearly that when analysing population-based data, it is useful to split the overall mortality in crude probabilities of dying from cancer and from other causes. Complemented by net survival, it provides a complete picture of cancer survival in a given population. But when comparisons of different populations as defined for example by place or time are of interest, our simulated data demonstrate that net survival is the only measure to be used.

CONCLUSIONS:

The choice of the method should be done in two steps: first, one should determine the measure of interest and second, one should choose among the methods that estimate that measure consistently.

KEYWORDS:

Cancer registries; Population-based studies; Relative survival; net survival

PMID:
27912732
PMCID:
PMC5135814
DOI:
10.1186/s12885-016-2967-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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