Some people with cancer may want to know the survival rates for other persons diagnosed with their type of cancer. These survival rates are the percentage of patients who live for a specified time after their cancers are diagnosed, and most of our tables present 5-year survival rates (the percentage of patients who survived at least 5 years after diagnosis). Of course, no matter what the 5-year survival rates are, keep in mind that each person’s situation is unique, and survival analysis cannot predict what will happen to any individual.
Because cancer occurs in persons who are also subject to various other potential causes of death, the Texas Cancer Registry uses two methods to measure cancer survival: “Relative Survival” and “Cause-Specific Survival”. Our two survival methods accomplish this by different means:
Relative Survival presents cancer survival in the absence of other causes of death by comparing the survival among patients with cancer to a comparable population without cancer.
Cause-Specific Survival presents cancer survival in the absence of other causes of death by only counting deaths that are attributable to the specific cancer site (and does not count deaths due to unrelated causes).
Both “Relative” and “Cause-Specific” survival methods are considered legitimate for analyzing population-based survival. For more information about similarities, differences and caveats of using each, visit: http://seer.cancer.gov/statistics/types/survival.html.