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Keywords:

  • CAR models;
  • Prostate cancer;
  • Pspline models;
  • Risks/counts predictions;
  • Space-time disease mapping

Current cancer mortality data are available with a delay of roughly three years due to the administrative procedure necessary to create the registries. Therefore, health agencies rely on forecast cancer deaths. In this context, statistical procedures providing mortality/incidence risk predictions for different regions or health areas are very useful. These predictions are essential for defining priorities for cancer prevention and treatment. The main objective of this work is to evaluate the predictive performance of alternative spatio-temporal models for short-term cancer risk/counts prediction in small areas. All the models analyzed here are presented under a general-mixed model framework, providing a unified structure of presentation and facilitating the use of similar tools for computing the prediction mean squared error. Prostate cancer mortality data are used to illustrate the behavior of the different models in Spanish provinces.