Cancer survival can be used as an indicator of cancer prognosis at a population level as well as an indicator of effectiveness of treatments provided.1
The measure conditional 5-year relative survival (referred to as ‘conditional survival’ hereafter) answers the question: "now that an individual has survived for X years, what is the probability of surviving another five years?”2 This indicator may be used at the population-level to provide a measure of the efficacy of management of people affected by cancer.2
The longer a person has already survived after being diagnosed with cancer, the higher the likelihood that they will survive their cancer for at least another 5 years
For the individual cancer types analysed for the period 2010-14, the likelihood of surviving another 5 years increased if the person had already survived multiple years since diagnosis (i.e. from 1 to 5 years).
The only exception was prostate cancer, which had high (between 95% and 96%) conditional survival regardless of the number of years already survived.
Cancers of the pancreas, brain, oesophagus, lung, liver, and unknown primary site had the largest increases in conditional survival at 1 year and 3 years following diagnosis
For these cancer types the likelihood of survival increased by at least 20 percentage points between 1 year and 3 years following diagnosis.
Indigenous Australians who have survived 1 year after diagnosis have lower observed survival outcomes compared to non-Indigenous Australians
Indigenous Australians had lower conditional observed survival outcomes for all cancers combined than non-Indigenous Australians after surviving 1 year from diagnosis (63% and 70%, respectively).
Indigenous Australians who had already survived 3 or 5 years after diagnosis had similar observed survival outcomes compared to non-Indigenous Australians
For Indigenous Australians who had already survived 3 years or 5 years after diagnosis, conditional observed survival was similar to non-Indigenous Australians (75% and 77% for 3 years, respectively; 77% and 78% for 5 years, respectively).
Conditional survival increased with increasing socioeconomic status
For people who had already survived 1 or 5 years after diagnosis, conditional observed survival was 69% and 78% in the lowest SES areas (SES1) and 76% and 83% in the highest SES areas (SES 5) respectively.