Objectives: Changes in five-year relative survival ratios for prostate, breast, colorectal and lung cancer cases are examined. Ratios for cases diagnosed in the 1985-1987 period are compared with those for 1992-1994. Incidence and mortality rates between 1985 and 1999 are compared with changes in relative survival.
Data sources: Data are from the Canadian Cancer Registry, the National Cancer Incidence Reporting System, the Canadian Mortality Data Base, and life tables.
Analytical techniques: Analysis was conducted using the maximum likelihood method of Esteve. Age-standardized ratios for a given cancer were calculated by weighting age-specific ratios to the age distribution of patients diagnosed with that cancer. Statistical tests were used to compare corresponding age-specific and age-standardized ratios across the two periods. National estimates exclude Québec and New Brunswick.
Main results: Between the 1985-1987 period and the 1992-1994 period, increases in five-year age-standardized relative survival ratios were dramatic for prostate cancer, large for breast cancer, and somewhat smaller for colorectal cancer. There was little absolute change in the ratios for lung cancer.