Crude probability of death for cancer patients by spread of disease in New South Wales, Australia 1985 to 2014

What is known?

The measure crude probability of death presents a real-world picture of cancer survival by considering the impact of other causes of death on cancer survival.

While Australian estimates of crude probabilities have been reported recently, to date there has been no information about how these vary according to spread of disease at diagnosis using data from New South Wales cancer registry.

What is new?

Use of a population-based cohort of more than 716,000 persons, aged 15-89 years, diagnosed with an invasive solid cancer from 1985-2014 in New South Wales.

Estimates were reported for all solid tumours combined and five leading cancers diagnosed in New South Wales.

There were clear improvements in cancer survival over time. This means that if an 80-year-old is now diagnosed with localised solid cancer and dies within the next ten years, they are more likely to have died from a non-cancer cause rather than from their cancer.

Greater degree of spread was consistently associated with higher probability of dying from cancer, although outcomes for lung cancer remained poor.

For younger patients, those diagnosed with distant spread disease, or diagnosed with lung cancer, the risk of dying from cancer within ten years of diagnosis would be the primary consideration.

Older patients diagnosed with localised spread of disease (except for lung cancer), were more likely to have died from other causes of death within ten years of diagnosis.

What does this mean?

Presenting crude probabilities by spread of disease may be useful in helping clinicians and their patients better understand prognoses and make informed decisions about treatment, particularly in terms of the average risk of dying from cancer and non-cancer causes. Early detection and improved treatments may have had different effects on the observed temporal improvements in survival for different cancer types.

Contact: Paramita Dasgupta

Reference: Yu XQ, Dasgupta P, Kahn C, Kou K, Cramb S, Baade P. Crude probability of death for cancer patients by spread of disease in New South Wales, Australia 1985 to 2014. Cancer Medicine. 2021. doi: 10.1002/cam4.3844.

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