Probabilities of dying from cancer and other causes in French cancer patients based on an unbiased estimator of net survival: a study of five common cancers

Publié le 2 December 2013
Mis à jour le 5 juillet 2019

Background : net survival is the survival that would be observed if cancer were the only possible cause of death. Although it is an important epidemiological tool allowing temporal or geographical comparisons, it cannot inform on the "crude" probability of death of cancer patients; i.e., when taking into account other possible causes of deaths. Methods : in this work, we provide estimates of the crude probabilities of death from cancer and from other causes as well as the probability of being alive up to ten years after cancer diagnosis according to the age and year of diagnosis. Based on a flexible excess hazard model providing unbiased estimates of net survival, our methodology avoids the pitfalls associated with the use of the cause of death. We used data from FRANCIM, the French network of cancer registries, and studied five common cancer sites: head and neck, breast, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers. Results : for breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers, the impact of the other causes on the total probability of death increased with the age at diagnosis whereas it remained negligible for lung and head and neck cancers whatever the age. For breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer, the more recently was the cancer diagnosed, the less was the probability of death from cancer. Conclusion : the crude probability of death is an intuitive concept that may prove particularly useful in choosing an appropriate treatment, or refining the indication of a screening strategy by allowing the clinician to estimate the proportion of cancer patients who will die specifically from cancer. (R.A.)

Auteur : Charvat H, Bossard N, Daubisse L, Binder F, Belot A, Remontet L
Cancer Epidemiology, 2013, n°. 6, p. 857-63