Background: Age-period-cohort (APC) analysis can inform registry-based studies of cancer incidence and mortality, but concerns about statistical identifiability and interpretability, as well as the learning curves of statistical software packages, have limited its uptake.
Methods: We implemented a panel of easy-to-interpret estimable APC functions and corresponding Wald tests in R code that can be accessed through a user-friendly Web tool.
Results: Input data for the Web tool consist of age-specific numbers of events and person-years over time, in the form of a rate matrix of paired columns. Output functions include model-based estimators of cross-sectional and longitudinal age-specific rates, period and cohort rate ratios that incorporate the overall annual percentage change (net drift), and estimators of the age-specific annual percentage change (local drifts). The Web tool includes built-in examples for teaching and demonstration. User data can be input from a Microsoft Excel worksheet or by uploading a comma-separated-value file. Model outputs can be saved in a variety of formats, including R and Excel.
Conclusions: APC methodology can now be carried out through a freely available user-friendly Web tool. The tool can be accessed at http://analysistools.nci.nih.gov/apc/.
Impact: The Web tool can help cancer surveillance researchers make important discoveries about emerging cancer trends and patterns.
©2014 American Association for Cancer Research.