Expected life years compared to the general population

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For cohorts with long-term follow-up, the number of years lost due to a certain disease yields a measure with a simple and appealing interpretation. Recently, an overview of the methodology used for this goal has been published, and two measures have been proposed. In this work, we consider a third option that may be useful in settings in which the other two are inappropriate. In all three measures, the survival of the given dataset is compared to the expected survival in the general population which is calculated using external mortality tables. We thoroughly analyze the differences between the three measures, their assumptions, interpretation, and the corresponding estimators. The first measure is defined in a competing risk setting and assumes an excess hazard compared to the population, while the other two measures also allow estimation for groups that live better than the general population. In this case, the observed survival of the patients is compared to that in the population. The starting point of this comparison depends on whether the entry into the study is a hazard changing event (e.g., disease diagnosis or the age at which the inclusion criteria were met). Focusing on the newly defined life years difference measure, we study the estimation of the variance and consider the possible challenges (e.g., extrapolation) that occur in practice. We illustrate its use with a dataset of French Olympic athletes. Finally, an efficient R implementation has been developed for all three measures which make this work easily available to subsequent users.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2200070
JournalBiometrical Journal
Issue number4
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2023

    Research areas

  • life years lost, mortality tables, relative survival, survival analysis, EXPECTATION, SURVIVAL, LOST

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