Journal of Cancer Survivorship

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 641-651

First online:

Projections of cancer prevalence by phase of care: a potential tool for planning future health service needs

  • Xue Qin YuAffiliated withCancer Research Division, Cancer Council New South WalesSydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney Email author 
  • , Mark ClementsAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet
  • , Dianne O’ConnellAffiliated withCancer Research Division, Cancer Council New South WalesSydney School of Public Health, The University of SydneySchool of Medicine and Public Health, University of NewcastleSchool of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales

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The objective of this study is to describe a method for estimating the number of cancer survivors requiring different types of cancer care in the future.


Colon cancer data (1972–2007) from the New South Wales (NSW) Central Cancer Registry were used to estimate prevalence in 2008–2017, which was then divided into five phases of care (initial, post-treatment monitoring, treatment for recurrence and second colon cancer, long-term survivors and last year of life). Patterns of care study data were used to calculate the type and number of treatments required by patients in initial care.


There were 17,375 patients living in NSW who had a past diagnosis of first primary colon cancer in 2007. Our statistical model suggests that by 2017, this number will have increased to 22,671. At least 2,430 patients are expected to require initial surgery for colon cancer in 2017, and of these, 753 will also require adjuvant chemotherapy. Furthermore, an additional 538 cases will require therapy due to cancer recurrence (307) or a second primary colon cancer (231).


Our proposed method provides more complete estimates of future cancer care needs. With some modifications, this method can be used to estimate the future prevalence of many major cancer types in many other jurisdictions.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Our proposed method can be a useful tool for planning future cancer care with the goal of improving the cancer survivorship experience for survivors, their caregivers and their families.


Cancer prevalence Phase of care Statistical projection Survivorship Epidemiology Health service planning