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

This paper, published in The Lancet Oncology today (full text here), summarises and compares progress against cancer (assessed in terms of time-trends in survival, incidence rates and mortality rates) for seven major cancer types across seven high-income countries - Ireland, the UK, Denmark, Norway, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. For stomach, colon, ovarian and male lung cancer, overall progress (i.e. increases in survival paralleled by decreases in mortality and incidence rates) was seen in most countries. For oesophageal, rectal, pancreatic and female lung cancer, survival improvements were seen in almost all populations, but many populations showed increases in incidence or mortality rates since the 1990s, thus overall progress was less evident.

Despite ongoing survival improvements, international disparities in survival persist, and further work is needed to assess the role of differences in stage at diagnosis, treatment and co-morbidity (the most likely factors contributing to survival disparities). Of the seven countries included, recent survival figures for Irish patients were the 2nd highest for oesophageal cancer, 3rd highest for stomach cancer, 4th highest for pancreatic and lung cancers, but only 6th highest (2nd lowest) for colon and rectal cancer and lowest for ovarian cancer. Notably, however, Ireland showed the biggest improvements in survival (comparing 2010-2014 with 1995-1999) of any of the seven countries for oesophageal and stomach cancers, the 2nd highest improvement for rectal and lung cancers, the 3rd highest improvement for colon and ovarian cancer, but the 2nd lowest improvement for pancreatic cancer. In summary, Ireland is making good progress in terms of survival improvements for all cancers included in this study, but still has some way to go to match the best countries for pancreatic and ovarian cancer survival. Increasing incidence rates of pancreatic cancer and increasing incidence and mortality rates of female lung cancer in Ireland are also of concern.


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