Survival of breast cancer patients in German-Danish border regions – A registry-based cohort study

Christiane E.S. Rudolph*, Gerda Engholm, Ron Pritzkuleit, Hans H. Storm, Alexander Katalinic

*Corresponding author for this work


Background and Aim: Denmark reports slightly lower breast cancer survival before 2010 than its neighbouring country Germany. Previous research is limited by lacking stage and treatment information. This study aims to investigate differences in breast cancer survival between the bordering regions Schleswig-Holstein (Germany), Southern Denmark and Zealand (Denmark) using registry data including stage and treatment information. Method: Invasive female breast cancer cases diagnosed during 2004−2013 with follow up through 31st December 2014 were extracted from cancer registries. Cases notified by death certificates only and those aged 90+ years were excluded. Kaplan-Meier curves and log-rank tests were computed. Cox regression analysis was conducted with adjustment for year of diagnosis, age, stage, and treatment. Results: The analytical sample included 42,966 cases. Kaplan-Meier curves and log-rank tests show significant survival differences between the regions. The Cox regression model adjusted for year of diagnosis and age shows significantly worse overall survival of breast cancer patients in both Danish regions compared to Schleswig-Holstein with hazard ratios (HR) of 1.09 (95 % CI: 1.04; 1.15) for patients from Southern Denmark (SD) and 1.25 (95 % CI: 1.18; 1.32) for residents of Zealand (ZL). This effect diminished after adjustment for stage and treatment (HR: 1.05 (SD), 1.09 (ZL) 95 % CI: 0.99; 1.10 (SD), 1.03; 1.15 (ZL)). Conclusion: Survival differences can be explained by differing stage distribution and treatment administration, which formerly were more favourable in Schleswig-Holstein. The survival gap will probably close due to Denmark's national screening program and increased use of adjuvant cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102001
JournalCancer Epidemiology
Publication statusPublished - 10.2021

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Center for Population Medicine and Public Health (ZBV)


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