(HealthDay News) — For developed countries, there are wide disparities in stage-specific survival for patients with non-small cell lung cancer, some of which can be explained by stage at diagnosis, according to a study published online Feb. 11 in Thorax.

Sarah Walters, Ph.D., from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues used population-based data for 57,352 patients to examine whether differences in stage at diagnosis account for the variation in lung cancer survival in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

The researchers found that for non-small cell lung cancer the age-standardized one-year net survival varied from 30 percent in the United Kingdom to 46 percent in Sweden. Lower survival was seen for patients in the United Kingdom and Denmark, which was partially due to more adverse stage distribution. Wide international differences were seen in stage-specific survival. Compared with Sweden, in the United Kingdom, net survival was 16 percent lower for tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) stage I non-small cell lung cancer and was 10 percent lower for TNM stage IV disease.

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“This study demonstrates wide differences between six wealthy countries in short-term survival from lung cancer, the most common cause of cancer death worldwide,” the authors write. “These differences seem unlikely to be explained by artefacts of method or unrecorded confounders, and differences in stage at diagnosis and stage-specific treatment are likely to be important explanations.”

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