Example: Cumulative Incidence - SEER Program

Lead Author(s): Jeff Martin, MD

Long-Term Survival - NCI SEER Program

In the following example from Brenner, the researchers looked at cancer mortality in the nationwide NCI (National Cancer Institute) SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) program.

Analysis SEER Data

Analysis of data from National Cancer Institute's Overall survival cohort method = 40% at 20 years

Overall survival with period analysis allowing for Temporal Trend They estimated that improvements in survival in more recent years would have resulted in a 20-year cumulative incidence of 51% survival rather than the 40% that the registry data actually show.

Analyzing Data by Calendar Time Cohorts

This example shows how the data were analyzed by calendar time cohorts.

The analysis of biases in the cumulative incidence rates was performed by dividing the persons into 5-year cohorts based on the time period of their cancer diagnosis. Done this way each more recent 5-year cohort has a 5-year shorter total follow-up time, but a clear trend toward overall improved survival appears.


Brenner, H. (2002). Long-term survival rates of cancer patients achieved by the end of the 20th century: a period analysis. Lancet, 360 (9340), 1131-1135.