Background: Many cancer patients who have already survived some time want to know about their prognosis, given the pre-condition that they are still alive. We described and interpreted population-based conditional 5-year relative survival rates. Patients and methods: The long-standing Eindhoven Cancer Registry collects data on all patients diagnosed with cancer in the southern part of the Netherlands. Patients aged 25-74 years, diagnosed between 1960 and 2004, were included. Conditional 5-year relative survival was computed for every additional year survived (follow-up period 1980-2004). Results: For patients with colorectal cancer, cutaneous melanoma or stage I breast cancer, conditional 5-year relative survival was >95% after having survived 3-15 years. However, for stomach, lung, stage II or III breast, prostate cancer or Hodgkin lymphoma, conditional 5-year relative survival did not exceed 75-94%. Initial differences in survival at diagnosis between age, gender and stage groups largely disappeared after having survived for 5-10 years. Conclusion: Prognosis for patients with cancer generally improved with each year survived. Patients with colorectal cancer, cutaneous melanoma or stage I breast cancer hardly exhibit any excess mortality after 3-15 years, whereas for patients with other tumours survival remained poorer than for the general population. Insight into conditional survival is especially useful for (ex)patients, who may use this information to plan their remaining life.

, , , ,,
Annals of Oncology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Janssen-Heijnen, M., Houterman, S., Lemmens, V., Brenner, H., Steyerberg, E., & Coebergh, J. W. (2007). Prognosis for long-term survivors of cancer. Annals of Oncology, 18(8), 1408–1413. doi:10.1093/annonc/mdm127