You are here

Choice of relative or cause-specific approach to cancer survival analysis impacts estimates differentially by cancer type, population and application: Evidence from a Canadian population-based cohort study

TitleChoice of relative or cause-specific approach to cancer survival analysis impacts estimates differentially by cancer type, population and application: Evidence from a Canadian population-based cohort study
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsWithrow, D. R., Pole J. D., E. Nishri D., Tjepkema M., and Marrett L. D.
JournalPopulation Health Metrics
Volume15
Pages1 - 9
Keywordsepidemiologic methods, health status disparities, indian, minority health, neoplasms, north american, survival analysis
Abstract

Background Cause-specific (CS) and net survival in a relative survival framework (RS) are two of the most common methods for estimating cancer survival. In this paper, we assess the differences in results produced by two permutations of cause-specific and relative survival applied to estimating cancer survival and disparities in cancer survival, using data from First Nations and non-Aboriginal populations in Canada. Methods Subjects were members of the 1991 Canadian Census Mortality Cohort, a population-based cohort of adult respondents to the 1991 Long Form Census who have been followed up for incident cancers and death through linkage to administrative databases. We compared four methods: relative survival analyses with ethnicity-specific life tables (RS-ELT); relative survival with general population life tables (RS-GLT); cause-specific survival with a broad definition of cancer death (CS-Broad); and cause-specific survival with a narrow definition of cause of death (CS-Narrow) and applied these to the nine most common cancers among First Nations. Results Apart from breast and prostate cancers, RS-ELT, RS-GLT, and CS-Broad tended to produce similar estimates of age-standardized five-year survival, whereas CS-Narrow yielded higher estimates of survival. CS-Narrow estimates were particularly unlike those based on the other methods for cancers of the digestive and respiratory tracts. Estimates of disparities in survival were generally comparable across the four methods except for breast and prostate cancers. Conclusions Cancer surveillance efforts in sub-populations defined by race, ethnicity, geography, socioeconomic status, or similar factors are necessary for identifying disparities and monitoring progress toward reducing them. In the absence of routine monitoring of cancer survival and cancer survival disparities in these populations, estimates generated by different methods will inevitably be compared over time and across populations. In this study, we demonstrate that caution should be exercised in making these comparisons, particularly in interpreting cause-specific survival rates with an unknown or narrow definition of cancer death and in estimates of breast and prostate cancer survival and/or disparities in survival generated by different methods.

URLhttps://pophealthmetrics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12963-017-0142-4
DOI10.1186/s12963-017-0142-4
Document URLhttps://pophealthmetrics.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s12963-017-0142-4
Publication Type
RDC
Surveys
Themes
Contract ID
Publication language(s)
English