Health status of prevalent cancer cases as measured by mortality dynamics (cancer vs. noncancer): Application to five major cancers sites

Cancer. 2022 Oct;128(20):3663-3673. doi: 10.1002/cncr.34413. Epub 2022 Aug 16.


Background: Cancer prevalence is heterogeneous because it includes individuals who are undergoing initial treatment and those who are in remission, experiencing relapse, or cured. The proposed statistical approach describes the health status of this group by estimating the probabilities of death among prevalent cases. The application concerns colorectal, lung, breast, and prostate cancers and melanoma in France in 2017.

Methods: Excess mortality was used to estimate the probabilities of death from cancer and other causes.

Results: For the studied cancers, most deaths from cancer occurred during the first 5 years after diagnosis. The probability of death from cancer decreased with increasing time since diagnosis except for breast cancer, for which it remained relatively stable. The time beyond which the probability of death from cancer became lower than that from other causes depended on age and cancer site: for colorectal cancer, it was 6 years after diagnosis for women (7 years for men) aged 75-84 and 20 years for women (18 years for men) aged 45-54 years, whereas cancer was the major cause of death for women younger than 75 years whatever the time since diagnosis for breast and for all patients younger than 75 years for lung cancer. In contrast, deaths from other causes were more frequent in all the patients older than 75 years. Apart from breast cancer in women younger than 55 years and lung cancer in women older than 55 years and men older than 65 years, the probability of death from cancer among prevalent cases fell below 1%, with varying times since diagnosis.

Conclusions: The authors' approach can be used to better describe the burden of cancer by estimating outcomes in prevalent cases.

Keywords: causes of death; crude probability of death; excess mortality rate; health status; prevalence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms*
  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lung Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neoplasms*
  • Prevalence