Purpose: To estimate the survival rates of breast cancer patients with reference to various factors like age, literacy status, residential status, T-stage and treatment. This is because there are very few studies reported from Indian subcontinent.
Methods: Survival rates were obtained by using the actuarial method and loss-adjusted survival rate method (LAR) for the above factors and the rates were compared. The present study carried out at the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), includes newly diagnosed (who were not treated elsewhere before attending TMH) primary breast cancer patients and having completed the initial treatment.
Results: The survival rates, actuarial survival and rates corrected for losses to follow-up (LAR) are presented. It showed that younger patients (<or=50 yrs) had a better 5-year survival ( 81%) than the older patients (> 50 years), with statistical significance ( p=0.024). There was no variation in survival with regard to the residential status but literate patients had a better ( non-significant) survival (77%) than their illiterate counterparts. T3-stage patients had the worst prognosis showing a 5-year survival of 60% (p=0.0002). Survival for those treated with surgery as the only modality and also in combination with other modalities did not show any remarkable differences except for the group that were treated with 'surgery in combination with chemotherapy'. The 5-year survival for those treated with surgery as the only modality was 83%. This study yielded useful information on breast cancer survival, especially in a situation with incomplete follow-up. The method applied (LAR) also clearly demonstrates the bias in estimates obtained by direct application of the standard actuarial method.