What is the Most Suitable Time Period to Assess the Time Trends in Cancer Incidence Rates to Make Valid Predictions - an Empirical Approach


Projections of cancer cases are particularly useful in developing countries to plan and prioritize both diagnosticand treatment facilities. In the prediction of cancer cases for the future period say after 5 years or after 10 years,it is imperative to use the knowledge of past time trends in incidence rates as well as in population at risk. Inmost of the recently published studies the duration for which the time trend was assessed was more than 10 yearswhile in few studies the duration was between 5-7 years. This raises the question as to what is the optimum timeperiod which should be used for assessment of time trends and projections. Thus, the present paper explores thesuitability of different time periods to predict the future rates so that the valid projections of cancer burden canbe done for India. The cancer incidence data of selected cancer sites of Bangalore, Bhopal, Chennai, Delhi andMumbai PBCR for the period of 1991-2009 was utilized. The three time periods were selected namely 1991-2005;1996-2005, 1999-2005 to assess the time trends and projections. For the five selected sites, each for males andfemales and for each registry, the time trend was assessed and the linear regression equation was obtained to giveprediction for the years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. These predictions were compared with actual incidence data.The time period giving the least error in prediction was adjudged as the best. The result of the current analysissuggested that for projections of cancer cases, the 10 years duration data are most appropriate as compared to7 year or 15 year incidence data.