Quantifying the Number of Cancer Deaths Avoided Due to Improvements in Cancer Survival Since the 1980s in the Australian Population, 1985-2014

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Dasgupta, Paramita
M Cramb, Susanna
Kou, Kou
Yu, Xue Qin
Baade, Peter D
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Background: This study quantifies the number of potentially "avoided"cancer deaths due to differences in 10-year relative survival between three time periods, reflecting temporal improvements in cancer diagnostic and/or treatment practices in Australia. Methods: National population-based cohort of 2,307,565 Australians ages 15 to 89 years, diagnosed with a primary invasive cancer from 1985 to 2014 with mortality follow-up to December 31, 2015. Excess mortality rates and crude probabilities of cancer deaths were estimated using flexible parametric relative survival models. Crude probabilities were then used to calculate "avoided cancer deaths" (reduced number of cancer deaths within 10 years of diagnosis due to survival changes since 1985-1994) for all cancers and 13 leading cancer types. Results: For each cancer type, excess mortality (in the cancer cohort vs. the expected population mortality) was significantly lower for more recently diagnosed persons. For all cancers combined, the number of "avoided cancer deaths" (vs. 1985-1994) was 4,877 (1995-2004) and 11,385 (2005-2014) among males. Prostate (1995-2004: 2,144; 2005-2014: 5,099) and female breast cancer (1,127 and 2,048) had the highest number of such deaths, whereas <400 were avoided for pancreatic or lung cancers across each period. Conclusions: Screening and early detection likely contributed to the high number of "avoided cancer deaths" for prostate and female breast cancer, whereas early detection remains difficult for lung and pancreatic cancers, highlighting the need for improved preventive and screening measures. IMPACT: Absolute measures such as "avoided cancer deaths" can provide a more tangible estimate of the improvements in cancer survival than standard net survival measures.

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Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention

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Biomedical and clinical sciences

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Dasgupta, P; M Cramb, S; Kou, K; Yu, XQ; Baade, PD, Quantifying the Number of Cancer Deaths Avoided Due to Improvements in Cancer Survival Since the 1980s in the Australian Population, 1985-2014., Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 2020, 29 (9), pp. 1825-1831