The main objective of the SUDCAN study was to compare, for 15 cancer sites, the trends in net survival and excess mortality rates from cancer 5 years after diagnosis between six European Latin countries (Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland). The data were extracted from the EUROCARE-5 database. The study period ranged from 6 (Portugal, 2000-2005) to 18 years (Switzerland, 1989-2007). Trend analyses were carried out separately for each country and cancer site; the number of cases ranged from 1500 to 104 000 cases. We developed an original flexible excess rate modelling strategy that accounts for the continuous effects of age, year of diagnosis, time since diagnosis and their interactions. Nineteen models were constructed; they differed in the modelling of the effect of the year of diagnosis in terms of linearity, proportionality and interaction with age. The final model was chosen according to the Akaike Information Criterion. The fit was assessed graphically by comparing model estimates versus nonparametric (Pohar-Perme) net survival estimates. Out of the 90 analyses carried out, the effect of the year of diagnosis on the excess mortality rate depended on age in 61 and was nonproportional in 64; it was nonlinear in 27 out of the 75 analyses where this effect was considered. The model fit was overall satisfactory. We analysed successfully 15 cancer sites in six countries. The refined methodology proved necessary for detailed trend analyses. It is hoped that three-dimensional parametric modelling will be used more widely in net survival trend studies as it has major advantages over stratified analyses.
- Journal Article