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Cancer survival estimates provide insights into the effectiveness of early detection and treatment. The stage of cancer at diagnosis is an important determinant of survival, reflecting the extent and spread at the time of disease detection. This work provides stage-specific, five-year survival results not previously available for Canada. Data reflect the population-based Canadian Cancer Registry death-linked analytic file covering the period from 2010 to 2017. The stage at diagnosis was determined by the Collaborative Stage Data Collection System. Five-year net survival (NS) estimates for Canada excluding Quebec were derived using the Pohar Perme estimator for the five most commonly diagnosed cancers. Except for prostate cancer, NS decreased monotonically with increased stage at diagnosis. For example, female breast cancer NS estimates were 100% (stage I), 92% (stage II), 74% (stage III) and 23% (stage IV). Apart from lung cancer, stage I NS exceeded 90% for all cancers studied. The largest sex-specific difference in NS was for lung cancer stage I (female 66%; male 56%). Stage-specific NS generally decreased with age, particularly for early-stage lung cancer. Between the 2010-to-2012 and 2015-to-2017 periods, NS improved among stage IV prostate, female breast and lung cancer cases, as well as for stage I and III lung cancer cases; however, it did not improve at any stage for colon or rectal cancer cases. The work highlights the importance of detecting cancer early, when treatment is most effective. It demonstrates some progress in stage-specific survival among top cancers in Canada and offers data to inform health policy, including screening, and clinical decisions regarding cancer treatment.


Larry F Ellison, Nathalie Saint-Jacques. Five-year cancer survival by stage at diagnosis in Canada. Health reports. 2023 Jan 18;34(1):3-15

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PMID: 36716075

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