Cancer Statistics: the Difference between Survival and Mortality Rates

How do we measure our ability to prevent death?

Almost every time someone wants to proclaim the US to be the “best in the world” in health care, they point to survival rates. The metric people should be using is mortality rates…

  • Survival rates refer to the percent of people who live a certain amount of time after they’ve been diagnosed with a disease. But there are real problems in using survival rates to compare the quality of care across systems.
  • When we compare mortality rates, we don’t look nearly as good. Why is this important? Aaron E. Carroll answers in this video by NHS Commissioning Board, 15 Dec 2013.

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