A preview of some highlights of the study, which was co-ordinated by the Epidemiology Unit of the Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan, Italy and is due to be published by Annals of Oncology shortly was presented today (Thursday 25 September) at the final day of ECCO 12 The European Cancer Conference.
The report, which is a follow up to EUROCARE-2, published in 1999, has analysed data from registries covering all or part of 22 countries1 and 42 types of cancer. It examined five-year survival after diagnosis for 1.8 million adults and 24,000 children diagnosed during 1990-94 and followed to the end of 1999.
One of the report's authors, Professor Michel Coleman, Professor of Epidemiology and Vital Statistics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the conference that the aim of exploring differences in cancer survival was not to establish league tables or excite national rivalries, but to estimate the range of survival rates and to identify regions or countries in which survival could be improved. "There is increasing evidence that international survival differences are at least partly due to factors that can be changed, such as stage at diagnosis, access to optimal treatment and investment in health care," he said.
[The proportion of gross domestic product devoted to health care in the contributing countries in 1995 ranged from 6% in Poland to 10.6% in Germany, and the per capita spend varied from $420 in Poland to $2,555 in Switzerland]2.
Looking at Europe overall, average five-year survival rates varied from a high of 94% for lip cancer to less than 4% for pancreatic cancer.