QCSOL Glossary

Cancer diagnoses

The number of cancers diagnosed each year. This can be reported as a count, or number. Alternatively, it can be reported as a diagnosis rate, which is the number of cancers diagnosed divided by the population.

Cancer deaths

The number of people who die from cancer each year. This can be reported as a count, or number. Alternatively, it can be reported as a death rate, which is the number of cancer deaths divided by the population.

Age-specific counts or rates

The number or rate and cancer diagnoses or deaths for a specific age group

Age-standardised rates

Comparing rates between different time periods or subgroups can be influenced by different age structures. For example one subgroup might be mainly younger people, another subgroup might consist of older people. Standardisation is a technique used to remove the effects of differences in age as much as possible when comparing two or more populations.

Observed counts and rates

The actual data as reported by the Queensland Cancer Register

Trend counts and rates

Straight lines that are generated using statistical models to best fit the observed counts or rates, and reduce random year to year variation.

Annual percentage change

The average percentage change per year in counts or rates based on the best fitting trend line from statistical models.

Lifetime Risk

An estimate of the average risk of a person developing a specific cancer type, or dying from a specific cancer, during their lifetime (from birth to a certain age). It is based on the total population, so ignores specific risk factors for individual people such as smoking.


The probability of remaining alive after a given amount of time following diagnosis of a cancer.

Relative survival

Compares the survival of people diagnosed with a specific cancer against the expected survival of the general population, taking into account age, sex and year of diagnosis. 

Conditional survival

The probability of surviving an additional number of years (eg. 5 years) given the person has already survived a certain number of years from the time of diagnosis.

Crude (actual) probability of survival

Measures the probability of death among a group of cancer patients where there are multiple possible causes of death. Among this group, it estimates the average probability of dying from cancer and the probability of dying from other causes within a certain time period (eg 5 years) after diagnosis.


The number of people who had a diagnosis of cancer in the past and are still alive at a specified point in time. It is impacted by both the number of new cases and the length of time patients survive after being diagnosed depending on the type of cancer.