Cancer survival is a key measure of the effectiveness of a health-care system. European Latin countries have some differences in their health system; therefore, it is of interest to compare them in terms of survival from cancer. Prostate cancer data from six countries (Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland) were extracted from the EUROCARE-5 database (end of follow-up: 1 January 2009). First, the net survival (NS) was studied over the 2000-2004 period using the Pohar-Perme estimator. For trend analyses, the study period was specific to each country. Trends in NS over the 1989-2004 period and changes in the pattern of cancer excess mortality rate until 5 years after the diagnosis were examined using a multivariate excess mortality rate model. A striking increase in survival from prostate cancer occurred in European Latin countries at all ages studied. In the last period of the study, there was little difference in age-standardized NSs from prostate cancer between the six countries. The trends of the survival followed those of the incidence (except in Spain in the elderly); the increases in incidence were the highest at ages 60-70 years and, in the elderly (around 80 years), the incidence did not increase in Switzerland. The increases in NS can mainly be explained by lead-time and overdiagnosis effects. The epidemiological interpretability of the changes in prostate cancer survival in Latin countries is strongly compromised by the biases inherent to the extensive prostate-specific antigen testing.
- Journal Article