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Open access

Vesna Zadnik, Tina Žagar and Maja Primic Žakelj

Abstract

Background

Cancer patients’ survival is an extremely important but complex indicator for assessing regional or global inequalities in diagnosis practices and clinical management of cancer patients. The population-based cancer survival comparisons are available through international projects (i.e. CONCORD, EUROCARE, OECD Health Reports) and online systems (SEER, NORDCAN, SLORA). In our research we aimed to show that noticeable differences in cancer patients’ survival may not always reflect the real inequalities in cancer care, but can also appear due to variations in the applied methodology for relative survival calculation.

Methods

Four different approaches for relative survival calculation (cohort, complete, period and hybrid) have been implemented on the data set of Slovenian breast cancer patients diagnosed between 2000 and 2009, and the differences in survival estimates have been quantified. The major cancer survival comparison studies have been reviewed according to the selected relative survival calculation approach.

Results

The gap between four survival curves widens with time; after ten years of follow up the difference increases to more than 10 percent points between the highest (hybrid) and the lowest (cohort) estimates. In population-based comparison studies, the choice of the calculation approach is not uniformed; we noticed a tendency of simply using the approach which yields numerically better survival estimates.

Conclusion

The population-based cancer relative survival, which is continually reported by recognised research groups, could not be compared directly as the methodology is different, and, consequently, final country scores differ. A uniform survival measure would be of great benefit in the cancer care surveillance.

Open access

Vesna Zadnik, Elodie Guillaume, Katarina Lokar, Tina Žagar, Maja Primic Žakelj, Guy Launoy and Ludivine Launay

Abstract

Introduction

Ecological deprivation indices belong to essential instruments for monitoring and understanding health inequalities. Our aim was to develop the SI-EDI, a newly derived European Deprivation Index for Slovenia. We intend to provide researchers and policy-makers in our country with a relevant tool for measuring and reducing the socioeconomic inequalities in health, and even at a broader level.

Methods

Data from the European survey on Income and Living Conditions and Slovenian national census for the year 2011 were used in the SI-EDI construction. The concept of relative deprivation was used where deprivation refers to unmet need(s), which is caused by lack of all kinds of resources, not only material. The SI-EDI was constructed for 210 Slovenian municipalities. Its geographical distribution was compared to the distribution of two existing deprivation scores previously applied in health inequality research in Slovenia.

Results

There were 36% of adults recognized as deprived in Slovenia in 2011. SI-EDI was calculated using 10 census variables that were associated with individual deprivation. A clear east-to-west gradient was detected with the most deprived municipalities in the eastern part of the country. The two existing deprivation scores correlate significantly with the SI-EDI.

Conclusions

A new deprivation index, the SI-EDI, is grounded on the internationally established scientific concept, can be replicated over time and, crucially, provides an account of the socioeconomic and cultural particularities of the Slovenian population. The SI-EDI could be used by the stakeholders and the governmental and nongovernmental sectors in Slovenia, with the goal of better understanding health inequalities in Slovenia.

Open access

Vesna Zadnik, Maja Primic Zakelj, Katarina Lokar, Katja Jarm, Urska Ivanus and Tina Zagar

Abstract

Background

The aim of our study was to describe cancer burden and time trends of all cancers combined, the most frequent as well as the rare cancers in Slovenia.

Patients and methods

The principal data source was the population-based Cancer Registry of Republic of Slovenia. The cancer burden is presented by incidence and prevalence for the period 1950–2013 and by mortality for years 1985–2013. The time trends were characterized in terms of an average annual percent change estimated by the log-linear joinpoint regression. The Dyba-Hakulinen method was used for estimation of incidence in 2016 and the projections of cancer incidence for the year 2025 were calculated applying the Globocan projection software.

Results

In recent years, near 14,000 Slovenes were diagnosed with cancer per year and just over 6,000 died; more than 94,000 people who were ever diagnosed with cancer are currently living among us. The total burden of cancer is dominated by five most common cancer sites: skin (non-melanoma), colon and rectum, lung, breast and prostate, together representing almost 60% of all new cancer cases. On average the incidence of common cancers in Slovenia is increasing for 3.0% per year in last decade, but the incidence of rare cancers is stable.

Conclusions

Because cancer occurs more among the elderly, and additionally more numerous post-war generation is entering this age group, it is expected that the burden of this disease will be growing further, even if the level of risk factors remains the same as today.

Open access

Helena Gutnik, Jasenka P. Matisic, Maja Primic Zakelj and Margareta Strojan Flezar

Abstract

Background. Microinvasive squamous cell carcinoma (MISCC) comprises a significant portion of all cervical cancers in Slovenia. Criteria of carcinomatous invasion are well described in the literature, however histopathological assessment of MISCC is difficult, because morphological characteristics can overlap with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 (CIN 3) and other pathological changes. The aim of our study was to evaluate the reliability of the histopathological diagnosis of MISCC in Slovenia during the period from 2001 to 2007.

Materials and methods. Data on patients with a histopathological diagnosis of cervical MISCC (FIGO stage IA) in the period of 2001 to 2007 were obtained from the Cancer Registry of Slovenia. Histological slides were obtained from the majority of pathology laboratories in Slovenia. We received 250 cases (69% of all MISCC) for the review; 30 control cases with CIN 3 and invasive squamous cell carcinoma FIGO stage IB were intermixed. The slides were coded and reviewed.

Results. Among 250 cases originally diagnosed as MISCC, there was an agreement with MISCC diagnosis in 184 (73.6%) cases (of these 179/184 (97.3%) cases were FIGO stage IA1 and 5/184 (2.7%) cases were FIGO stage IA2). Among 179 FIGO stage IA1 cases 117 (65.4%) showed only early stromal invasion. Conclusions. The retrospective review of cases diagnosed as MISCC during the period 2001- 2007 in Slovenia showed a considerable number of overdiagnosed cases. Amongst cases with MISCC confirmed on review, there was a significant proportion with early stromal invasion (depth of invasion less than 1 mm).

Open access

Urska Ivanus, Tine Jerman, Alenka Repse Fokter, Iztok Takac, Veronika Kloboves Prevodnik, Mateja Marcec, Ursula Salobir Gajsek, Maja Pakiz, Jakob Koren, Simona Hutter Celik, Kristina Gornik Kramberger, Ulrika Klopcic, Rajko Kavalar, Simona Sramek Zatler, Biljana Grcar Kuzmanov, Mojca Florjancic, Natasa Nolde, Srdjan Novakovic, Mario Poljak and Maja Primic Zakelj

Abstract

Background

To overcome obstacles within the Slovenian organised cervical cancer screening programme, a randomised pilot study of human papillomavirus (HPV) self-sampling among non-attenders was performed, aiming to assess three different screening approaches.

Participants and methods

Non-attenders aged 30–64 years from two Slovenian regions were randomised to two HPV self-sampling groups–the opt-in (I1, n = 14.400) and the opt-out (I2, n = 9.556), with a control group (P, n = 2.600). Self-collected samples were analysed using the Hybrid Capture 2 assay. HPV-positive women were invited to a colposcopy. The overall and type-specific intention-to-screen response rates and histological outcomes with a positive predictive value (PPV) according to the women’s age, the screening approach, the level of protection resulting from previous screening history, and the region of residence were assessed.

Results

Of the 26.556 women enrolled, 8.972 (33.8%) responded with self-sample for HPV testing and/or traditional cytology within one year of enrolment. Response rates were 37.7%, 34.0% and 18.4% (p < 0.050) for opt-out, opt-in and control groups. Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)2+ was diagnosed in 3.9/1.000, 3.4/1.000, and 3.1/1.000 women (p > 0.050), respectively. PPV of the HPV self-sampling was 12.0% and 9.6% for CIN2+ and CIN3+. The highest PPV was obtained in non-attenders in screening programme for more than 10-years and concordant results of HPV testing with 40.8% for CIN2+ and 38.8% for CIN3+.

Conclusions

The results of our study show that a high response to HPV self-sampling can be achieved also in an opt-in approach, if women are encouraged to choose between self-sampling at home and screening with gynaecologist. In addition, clinically important risk difference for a high-grade cervical lesion exists in the case of a positive result of HPV testing on self-collected samples, depending on the length of the interval since last screening. Stratified management of these women should be strongly considered. Women who were not screened with cytology for at least 10 years should be referred to immediate colposcopy for histology verification instead to delayed re-testing.