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Glossary of terms

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Conditional survival

The percentage of patients who are still alive at a certain time after diagnosis, given that they have already survived for 1 year after diagnosis.

The conditional measures are useful to portray the updated relative survival for patients who have already survived for a certain number of years after diagnosis (in this tool, 1 year after diagnosis). These patients therefore are likely to have a reduced impact of cancer on their survival prospects because the highest mortality for most cancer sites tends to be in the short term. Many differences in survival will manifest in the short term, and so conditional measures can be useful to help assess when differences occur. Conditional survival measures may highlight where in follow-up the mortality differences between jurisdictions occur.

Crude probability of death

The probability of no longer being alive at a certain time due to death from cancer or death from other causes.

The crude probability of death measures the mortality patterns actually experienced in a cohort of cancer patients on which many possible causes of death are acting simultaneously. This option estimates the probability of dying from cancer and dying from other causes in a cohort of cancer patients. This measure is useful for making treatment-related decisions or for the planning and provision of future health-care services.

ICBP

International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership

For more information, see the ICBP website at Cancer Research UK.

Incidence rate

The probability of developing cancer in a given population in a defined time period.

Cancer incidence is the number of new cancer cases arising in a specified population over a given period of time (typically 1 year). It can be expressed as an absolute number of cases within the entire population per year or as a rate per 100 000 persons per year. Incidence information is collected routinely by cancer registries. Rates are age-standardized using the World Standard Population (Doll et al., 1966).

Mortality rate

The probability of dying from cancer in a given population in a defined time period.

Cancer mortality is the number of deaths due to cancer occurring in a specified population over a given period of time (typically 1 year). It can be expressed as an absolute number of deaths within the entire population per year or as a rate per 100 000 persons per year. Mortality data are provided by national statistical offices. Rates are age-standardized using the World Standard Population (Segi, 1960).

Net survival

The percentage of patients who are still alive at a certain time after diagnosis if cancer was the only possible cause of death.

Net survival is an estimate of survival where the effect on survival of background population mortality rates has been removed. It represents the (theoretical) survival of cancer patients if they could die only from cancer-related causes. Net survival is a measure that tries to make fair comparisons across groups where the probability of dying from a cause other than cancer is different. Net survival is therefore suitable for comparisons of survival between different time periods and populations, because the confounding effect of non-cancer death rates is removed. Presented here are 1-, 3-, and 5-year net survival rates that are age-standardized using the International Cancer Survival Standard (ICSS) weights and calculated using the Pohar–Perme approach.

Updates

September 2019. Release of the webtool version 1.0.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank all cancer registry staff who contributed to this project, for their willingness to support the collective efforts to obtain the best possible population-based estimates of cancer survival. Our special thanks to all ICBP SURVMARK-2 Local Leads for their advice on understanding the data, and for their contributions to the study protocol and the interpretation of the results. We also thank the ICBP Clinical Committees for their advice and the ICBP SURVMARK-2 Academic Reference Group for providing independent peer review and advice for the development of the study protocol and the analysis plan. Many thanks also to the ICBP management team at Cancer Research UK for their support.

Website citation

Any use of the data published on this website should cite their source as follows: Arnold M, Rutherford M, Lam F, Bray F, Ervik M, Soerjomataram I (2019). ICBP SURVMARK-2 online tool: International Cancer Survival Benchmarking. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer. Available from: http://gco.iarc.fr/survival/survmark, accessed [day/month/year].

Published SURVMARK-2 papers

  1. Araghi M, Soerjomataram I, Bardot A, Ferlay J, Cabasag CJ, Morrison DS, et al. (2019). Changes in colorectal cancer incidence in seven high-income countries: a population-based study. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 4(7):511–518. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-1253(19)30147-5 PMID: 31105047.

  2. Arnold M, Rutherford MJ, Bardot A, Ferlay J, Andersson T, Myklebust TA, et al. (2019). Progress in cancer survival, mortality, and incidence in seven high-income countries 1995–2014 (ICBP SURVMARK-2 project): a population-based study. Lancet Oncol. Published online 11 September 2019. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(19)30456-5.

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