Changes in cancer survival in Europe

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Background

Cancer survival is a key measure of the effectiveness of health-care systems. EUROCARE—the largest cooperative study of population-based cancer survival in Europe—has shown persistent differences between countries for cancer survival, although in general, cancer survival is improving. Major changes in cancer diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation occurred in the early 2000s. EUROCARE-5 assesses their effect on cancer survival in 29 European countries.

Methods

In this retrospective observational study, we analysed data from 107 cancer registries for more than 10 million patients with cancer diagnosed up to 2007 and followed up to 2008. Uniform quality control procedures were applied to all datasets. For patients diagnosed 2000—07, we calculated 5-year relative survival for 46 cancers weighted by age and country. We also calculated country-specific and age-specific survival for ten common cancers, together with survival differences between time periods (for 1999—2001, 2002—04, and 2005—07).

Findings

5-year relative survival generally increased steadily over time for all European regions. The largest increases from 1999—2001 to 2005—07 were for prostate cancer (73·4% [95% CI 72·9—73·9]vs81·7% [81·3—82·1]), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (53·8% [53·3—54·4]vs60·4% [60·0—60·9]), and rectal cancer (52·1% [51·6—52·6]vs...