Background: There is a large gap in the data on cancer outcomes in Latin America, making it difficult to establish adequate cancer control policies in the region. The aim of our study was to describe the survival, life expectancy estimates and life expectancy changes over time for a large cohort of Peruvian patients insured with Oncosalud, a private healthcare system.
Patients and methods: We evaluated a retrospective cohort of patients diagnosed between 2000 and 2015 in Oncosalud (Lima-Peru). Cases included colon, rectum, stomach, bladder, breast, prostate and non-melanoma skin cancers. Survival was evaluated with the Kaplan–Meier methodology. The standard period life table was used to estimate the excess mortality risks of patients in our cohort compared to the population covered by the Peruvian Superintendence of Banks, Insurance Companies and Pension Funds (SBS). The years of life lost was estimated based on SBS population, matching patients by age and sex.
Results: A large cohort of 7,687 Peruvian cancer patients managed in a 15-year period was eligible. If patients survive 5 years after a cancer diagnosis, life expectancy tends to be close to that of a population without cancer. The number of years of life lost at diagnosis was higher at the youngest ages, steadily decreasing thereafter. During the first years after cancer diagnosis, young patients face a much higher loss in life expectancy than older ones. Patients suffering from colon, rectum, stomach and bladder cancer are the most affected by the years of life lost.
Conclusion: In cancer patients surviving ≥ 5 years, life expectancy becomes similar to that observed in a population with similar socioeconomic characteristics. The estimated survival rate in our cohort is higher than that reported by public cancer registries in Peru. This could be explained by the different socio-economic background and access to specialised cancer care.