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Progress in cancer survival, mortality and prevalence in seven high-income countries 1995–2014 (ICBP SURVMARK-2): a population-based study

Research in context

Evidence before this study

We searched PubMed, without language restrictions, on January 15, 2019 for studies that contained one or more of the terms "survival", "cancer", "incidence" "," Mortality "and" trends "to identify relevant population-based studies that assess survival along with incidence or mortality, or both, for one or more of the following cancers: esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, pancreas, lung, and ovary. Comparing international population-based cancer survival differences has proven to be a very complicated but crucial way to develop and evaluate strategies for early detection, quality of clinical care and management of cancer patients. Although consistent improvements in cancer survival have been reported over the past two decades, survival differences appear to persist for most cancer sites, which motivates political reform in specific countries.

Added value for this study

As part of the second phase of the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP), Cancer Survival in High Income Countries (SURVMARK-2) benchmarks 1

-year and 5-year survival by age and diagnosis period for seven cancers (esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, pancreas, lung and ovaries) in seven countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and the UK), using data from 21 high-quality population-based cancer registries for the period 1995–2014, with the following until December 31, 2015. High levels of data control, close interactions with an interdisciplinary group of data providers, epidemiologists and clinics and efforts to expand the set of relevant indicators make this study unique. This report builds on previous studies by providing a combined assessment of incidence, mortality, and survival trends to measure cancer control success.

Implications of all available evidence

We found that cancer survival continues to improve across high-income countries, although international differences persist even for cancers with poor prognoses. Progress is likely due to earlier diagnosis and improved treatment, along with policy reforms that have guaranteed improved pathways to diagnosis and treatment. The favorable 20-year gastrointestinal, colon, lung (men) and ovarian cancer incidence and mortality rates are likely due to the delivery of interventions across the spectrum of cancer control, including effective cancer prevention and treatment. Although differences in registration practice, classification, and coding are unlikely to explain the variations reported here, ICBP SURVMARK-2 attempts to quantify the effect of specific registration-related factors on country-specific cancer survival, including definitions of diagnosis date, and how death certificates (such as the original source of registration), based on previous assessments. Innovative measures to survive cancer will be included in upcoming articles and made publicly available through an online tool to facilitate next-generation benchmarking studies.

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