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Comparison of survival among patients with breast cancer treated at First Teaching Hospital, Changchun, China, and Saint-Sacrement hospital, Quebec, Canada


The aim of this study was to compare the survival of 116 patients with breast cancer initially treated at the First Teaching Hospital (FTH) of Norman Bethune University of Medical Sciences located in Changchun, China, from 1986 to 1991 with the survival of 886 patients seen in the “Hipital du Saint-Sacrement” (HSS) located in Quebec City, Canada, from 1987 to 1992.

The clinical data were collected from the hospital records at FTH. The vital status for Chinese patients was obtained from letters of follow-up or the records of local police offices. The list of patients treated at HSS and the data for each woman were extracted from computerized data banks.

The major variables studied included age at diagnosis, tumor size at pathology (cm), number of lymph nodes involved, breast surgery and adjuvant treatments of breast cancer (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immuno-therapy).

Age at diagnosis was substantially lower among patients with breast cancer seen at FTH compared to those treated at HSS (x) 1 2 =60.95,P<0.0001). The average age at diagnosis for Chinese women was about 10 years less than that for Canadian women.

Patients in the two hospitals differed with respect to tumor size at pathology (x 2 2 =6.67,P=0.036). The proportion of patients with tumor size larger than 2.0 cm was larger at FTH (48.3%) than at HSS (41.1%). The mean tumor size at pathology was 3.0 cm (standard deviation =2.1 cm) for patients treated at FTH, but 2.6 cm (standard deviation=1.8 cm) for women treated at HSS (P=0.07). The proportion of women with lymph node involvement was greater at FTH (61.1 % than that at HSS (37.3%) (x 1 2 =16.51,P<0.0001).

Surgical treatment of breast cancer varied considerably. In Changchun, radical mastectomy was frequent for any stage of breast cancer patients, but partial mastectomy was never performed. The situation was reversed in Quebec.

The five year observed survival was 74.2% (standard error, 0.05) among breast cancer patients seen at FTH compared to 76.0% (standard error, 0.02) among women treated at HSS. After adjustments of confounding factors, there were no significant difference in five year observed survival between the patients treated at the two hospitals (P=0.42).

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Correspondence to Xueliang Gai.

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Gai, X., Fan, Z., Liu, G. et al. Comparison of survival among patients with breast cancer treated at First Teaching Hospital, Changchun, China, and Saint-Sacrement hospital, Quebec, Canada. Chin J Cancer Res 7, 197 (1995).

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Key words

  • Vital status
  • Breast Cancer
  • Five years observed survival