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Prostate and Lung Cancer Incidence and Survival Patterns Among Veterans

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Background: Prostate cancer (PCa) and lung cancer (LC) are the most common cancers among men, accounting for almost 50% of all cancer cases each year in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

Purpose: The objectives of this analysis were to evaluate characteristics and trends in prostate and lung cancer incidence and survival (both overall and cancerspecific) among veterans receiving care in the VHA.

Methods: Data were obtained from the VA Central Cancer Registry for patients diagnosed with prostate or lung cancer. Vital status was obtained from the VA Corporate Data Warehouse and cause of death from the National Death Index. Age-adjusted incidence rates were calculated for patients diagnosed 2005-2014. Rates were based on U.S. 2010 adult population estimates and VHA user population in each fiscal year. All incidence rates are per 100,000 person-years. Fiveyear survival was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method for patients diagnosed 2002-2012.

Results: For PCa, the age-adjusted incidence 2005- 2014 was 133, with an overall decrease ranging from 161 in 2007 to 94 in 2014. The median age at PCa diagnosis was 65 years, and approximately 86% of patients were diagnosed with clinical stage I/II disease. Five-year overall and PCa-specific survival were 80% and 95%, respectively. Between 2002-2012, overall survival increased from 74% to 82% and PCa-specific survival increased slightly from 93.1% to 94.4%. For LC, the age-adjusted incidence 2005-2014 was 77, with an overall decrease ranging from 88 in 2009 to 62 in 2014. Among males, incidence was 78 and median age at diagnosis was 68 years; corresponding incidence and age among females was 55 and 62 years. Five-year overall survival improved from 10% for 2002 diagnoses to 15% for 2012 diagnoses; similarly, LC-specific survival increased from 16% to 35% during this time.

Implications: Incidence and survival rates for lung and prostate cancer have improved over time in both in VHA, as well as non-veteran specific populations such as the SEER cancer registry, mostly due to advances in cancer detection and treatment options. Evaluating trends and patterns of care can help inform the increasing demand for high-quality cancer care in the VA healthcare system.

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