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Project Compares Cancer Survival Around Globe

Five-year relative survival of certain cancers higher in North America, Japan, Australia

THURSDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- A novel comparison of cancer survival around the globe finds a wide variation in survival from breast, colorectal and prostate cancer, according to research published online July 17 in The Lancet Oncology.

Michel P. Coleman, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, United Kingdom, and colleagues incorporated population-based cancer registries from 31 countries on five continents into their analysis, in the process creating 2,800 life tables.

The investigators report that, in general, five-year relative survival for cancer at these sites was higher in North America, Australia and Japan, as well as northern, western and southern Europe; age-standardized relative survival was 80 percent or more in North America, Sweden, Japan, Finland and Australia, while survival in 24 European countries mostly ranged from 70 percent to 79 percent. Relative survival was lower in eastern Europe, such as less than 60 percent in Slovakia; Brazil, where it was also less than 60 percent; and Algeria, where it was less than 40 percent.

"Part of the international variation in survival isÂ…probably attributable to under-investment in health resources. The variation in survival might be considered intuitively obvious, given wide global variation in expenditure on health care, whether that is expressed in absolute terms or as a proportion of national resources. A parallel could be drawn with differences in survival between rich and poor patients with cancer in a given country, which have frequently been reported," the authors write. "Until now, however, direct international comparisons of cancer survival between high-income and low-income countries have not generally been available."

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