Cancer survival rate improves

Cancer survival rates improved in the 10 years to 2007, according to a Ministry of Health report released today.

The report, which looked at cancer survival rates between 1994 and 2007, found that between 1998 and 2007 survival rates for adults with cancer improved from a ratio of 0.576 to 0.623 after five years of follow-up.

"Although survival in both males and females improved, survival ratios differed in terms of sex, ethnicity, extent of disease at diagnosis, and level of deprivation," the ministry's cancer programme's national clinical director, John Childs, said.

"In general, males had slightly lower survival ratios than females, and Maori had lower survival ratios than non-Maori. Extent of disease at diagnosis also impacted greatly on patient survival."

Of the 24 adult cancers the report looked at, cancer of the pancreas had the lowest survival outcomes over five and 10 years of follow-up. Testicular cancer showed the best survival ratios.

"Prostate cancer, with a five-year survival ratio of 0.862, also had one of the highest survival gain of the adult cancer sites," Dr Childs said.

Survival from childhood cancers improved between 1998 and 2005, but dropped in 2006 and 2007, which Dr Childs said was possibly due to changes in the system for registering cancers.

The survival rate was calculated by comparing the number of people who died with cancer with the number of people in the general population who would have been expected to die over the same period.




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