Acute de novo Leukemia in Estonia and Western Sweden 1982-2006: Positive Trend in the Survival of Acute Leukemia over 25 Years

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This study focuses on the incidence, treatment, and survival of de novo acute leukemia in a 25-year perspective in western Sweden and Estonia. At the beginning of our study, Estonia was a part of the Eastern bloc with planned economy, but since 1991 it is a member of the European Union and transforming into a market economy. Survival rates have steadily increased in both countries. However, a gap between their survival curves remains. Based on our data, it is difficult to explain the big difference in the 5-year relative survival in favor of western Sweden (55 vs. 22%). In Germany, there was a big difference in overall cancer survival between East and West Germany after the fall of the iron curtain, but today no difference is seen. Differences in survival are probably due to a higher proportion of intense chemotherapy regimens and a higher rate of hematopoietic stem cell transplantations in Sweden. Other important factors might be better supportive care and diagnostics as well as better adjuvant therapy. Better staff training and conditions in wards are also factors that might play an essential role.

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