Calculating the prevalence of cancer
Article first published online: 12 OCT 2006
Copyright © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Statistics in Medicine
Volume 11, Issue 12, pages 1579–1589, 1992
How to Cite
Coldman, A. J., McBride, M. L. and Braun, T. (1992), Calculating the prevalence of cancer. Statist. Med., 11: 1579–1589. doi: 10.1002/sim.4780111205
- Issue published online: 12 OCT 2006
- Article first published online: 12 OCT 2006
- Manuscript Revised: FEB 1992
- Manuscript Received: SEP 1991
- British Columbia Health Care Research Foundation
- Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Incidence, prevalence and mortality are commonly used measures to assess the impact of disease on human populations. Prevalence, although regularly assessed for a number of different diseases, has only had recent use to measure the impact of cancer. The calculation of the prevalence of cancer presents several difficulties since there is no reporting mechanism established to measure the proportion of the community that has the disease. In the absence of such a mechanism, mortality data linked to incidence data from cancer registries have been used. The assumption is made that once diagnosed with cancer an individual remains a prevalent case until death. In this paper we present alternatives to this assumption and use them to produce estimates of cancer prevalence. We illustrate the effect of these assumptions on the calculated prevalence of cancer using data from the British Columbia Cancer Registry.