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An individual measure of relative survival

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Relative survival techniques are used to compare survival experience in a study cohort with that expected if background population rates apply. The techniques are especially useful when cause-specific death information is not accurate or not available as they provide a measure of excess mortality in a group of patients with a certain disease. Whereas these methods are based on group comparisons, we present here a transformation approach which instead gives for each individual an outcome measure relative to the appropriate background population. The new outcome measure is easily interpreted and can be analysed by using standard survival analysis techniques. It provides additional information on relative survival and gives new options in regression analysis. For example, one can estimate the proportion of patients who survived longer than a given percentile of the respective general population or compare survival experience of individuals while accounting for the population differences. The regression models for the new outcome measure are different from existing models, thus providing new possibilities in analysing relative survival data. One distinctive feature of our approach is that we adjust for expected survival before modelling. The paper is motivated by a study into the survival of patients after acute myocardial infarction.
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Keywords: Myocardial infarction; Population mortality; Residual lifetime; Transformation models

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Ljubljana, Slovenia 2: University of Lancaster, UK

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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