Background: Race and ethnicity are significant factors in predicting survival time of breast cancer patients. In this study, we applied advanced statistical methods to predict the survival of White non-Hispanic female breast cancer patients, who were diagnosed between the years 1973 and 2009 in the United States (U.S.).
Materials and methods: Demographic data from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End RESULTS (SEER) database were used for the purpose of this study. Nine states were randomly selected from 12 U.S. cancer registries. A stratified random sampling method was used to select 2,000 female breast cancer patients from these nine states. We compared four types of advanced statistical probability models to identify the best-fit model for the White non- Hispanic female breast cancer survival data. Three model building criterion were used to measure and compare goodness of fit of the models. These include Akaike Information Criteria (AIC), Bayesian Information Criteria (BIC), and Deviance Information Criteria (DIC). In addition, we used a novel Bayesian method and the Markov Chain Monte Carlo technique to determine the posterior density function of the parameters. After evaluating the model parameters, we selected the model having the lowest DIC value. Using this Bayesian method, we derived the predictive survival density for future survival time and its related inferences.
Results: The analytical sample of White non-Hispanic women included 2,000 breast cancer cases from the SEER database (1973-2009). The majority of cases were married (55.2%), the mean age of diagnosis was 63.61 years (SD = 14.24) and the mean survival time was 84 months (SD = 35.01). After comparing the four statistical models, results suggested that the exponentiated Weibull model (DIC= 19818.220) was a better fit for White non-Hispanic females' breast cancer survival data. This model predicted the survival times (in months) for White non-Hispanic women after implementation of precise estimates of the model parameters.
Conclusions: By using modern model building criteria, we determined that the data best fit the exponentiated Weibull model. We incorporated precise estimates of the parameter into the predictive model and evaluated the survival inference for the White non-Hispanic female population. This method of analysis will assist researchers in making scientific and clinical conclusions when assessing survival time of breast cancer patients.