Objectives: To provide a descriptive review of the establishment of the National Prostate Cancer Register (NPCR) in Sweden, to present clinical characteristics at diagnosis and to calculate the relative survival of different risk groups after 5 years.
Material and methods: Since 1998, data on all newly diagnosed prostate cancers, including TNM classification, grade of malignancy, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level and treatment, have been prospectively collected. For the 35,223 patients diagnosed between 1998 and 2002, relative survival in different risk groups has been calculated.
Results: Between 1998 and 2002, 96% of all prostate cancer cases diagnosed in Sweden were registered in the NPCR. The number of new cases increased from 6137 in 1998 to 7385 in 2002. The age-standardized rate rose in those aged < 70 years, while it was stable, or possibly declining from 1999, in the older age groups. The proportion of T1c tumours increased from 14% to 28% of all recorded cases. The age-adjusted incidence of advanced tumours (M1 or PSA > 100 ng/ml) decreased by 17%. The proportion of patients receiving curative treatment doubled. Patients with N1 or M1 disease or poorly differentiated tumours (G3 or Gleason score 8-10) had a markedly reduced relative 5-year survival rate.
Conclusions: It is possible to establish a nationwide prostate cancer register including basic data for assessment of the disease in the whole of Sweden. The introduction of PSA screening has increased the detection of early prostate cancer in younger men and, to a lesser extent, decreased the incidence of advanced disease. The effect of these changes on mortality is obscure but the NPCR in Sweden will serve as an important tool in such evaluation.