Introduction: Has there been a visible effect on cancer survival after the launch of the first cancer control plan in year 2000?
Material and methods: All cancers reported 1995-2003 to the Danish Cancer Registry were included. Three cohorts diagnosed 1995-1997, 1998-2000 and 2001-2003 were followed for death until 31 December 2006 and age standardized 1- and 3-year relative survival was calculated by the cohort method.
Results: One-year survival increased for men from 59 to 65% and for women from 67 to 70%, and 3-year survival from 44 to 51% and 55 to 59%, respectively. The improved 3-year survival for women was after the launch of the cancer plan, whilst for men it was in the entire observation period. Improvement in 3-year survival for both sexes occurred for colon, rectum and lung cancer, and for bladder and prostate in men and esophagus, breast, ovary and leukemia in women. Worse survival was seen for oral and pharyngeal cancer in women.
Discussion: The improved trend in survival has been maintained. The cancer plan may improve survival before onset due to the early implementation of recommendations. Since improvements in surgery presents early, 3-year survival is relevant. The improved survival for colo-rectal, lung, bladder, esophagus and ovarian cancer may be related to the cancer plan. Improvement in breast cancer survival is likely due to screening and the DBCG continued activity, whilst increasing incidence of prostate cancer due to PSA testing is likely to be behind our observation. Longer follow-up and a timely and updated cancer registry are needed to fully assess the impact of the cancer plan.