What is known?
Population survival statistics such as the relative survival rate at diagnosis are often used to provide cancer patients with an insight into the implications of their diagnosis.
This measure alone does not reflect that younger people have more years of remaining life to lose when diagnosed with cancer.
Loss of life expectancy (LOLE) is the difference between the life expectancy among the general population, and the life expectancy of people diagnosed with cancer.
What is new?
LOLE was estimated for a national cohort of over 1.8 million Australians diagnosed with cancer over 34 years. The study found that LOLE has decreased over time, although the magnitude varied by sex, age, and spread of disease groups. Due to the improvement of cancer-specific survival since 1982, we estimated that 432,588 life years will be saved among patients diagnosed in 2014.
What does this mean?
The LOLE provides additional and potentially more tangible measures about survival outcomes after a cancer diagnosis.
While encouraging, the large amount of gain in life years for recent cancer cohorts highlights the increasing demands on survivorship services and new challenges for the patient themselves, their care givers, communities, and health professionals.
Contact: Kou Kou
Reference: Kou K, Dasgupta P, Cramb S, Yu XQ, Andersson T, Baade P. Temporal trends in loss of life expectancy after a cancer diagnosis among the Australian population. Cancer Epidemiology. 2020; 65(4):101686.