Statistical methods for population-based cancer survival analysis

NEXT COURSE: We plan to hold the course again in June 2015, but the exact dates have not yet been finalised. In 2012, 2013, and 2014 the course was held in late June and we anticipate the same for 2015. We hope the dates will be finalised by October 2014.

As part of the Summer School on Modern Methods in Biostatistics and Epidemiology, a highly experienced faculty will present an intensive 1-week course on the principles, methods and application of statistical methods in population-based cancer survival analysis. Applications are now being accepted.
Castel Brando

The course will cover central concepts, such as how to estimate and model relative/net survival, as well as recent methodological developments including cure models, flexible parametric models, proportion of expected life lost, and estimating crude probabilities of death. Comparison of alternative methodological approaches (e.g., to estimating relative survival and to modelling relative survival) will will be a focus of the course and participants will get the opportunity to apply and contrast a range of methods to real data. The course will consist primarily of lectures and hands-on computing sessions with a focus on individual instruction and discussion. Click here for further details of the course content including what's new in 2014.

Our goal is to provide each participant with individual instruction. A large amount of time will be devoted to exercise sessions where 5 faculty members will be available to work with participants individually or in small groups. We will provide an extensive set of exercises with fully-worked solutions but the exercise sessions will also provide an opportunity for participants to discuss their own research projects with the faculty (and with each other). Participants are welcome to bring a laptop with their own data; we are happy to discuss how such data can be analysed. Our goal is that, after completing the course, participants will return to their home institution with both the theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and computing code (e.g., Stata or SAS code) to perform survival analyses.

We have chosen the venue since we believe a residential course in a pleasant environment provides much more than a "nine to five" course. The faculty will stay at the course venue and look forward to discussions not just during the course but during breakfast, dinner, and after dinner.

A 1-day course on "Introduction to Stata for survival analysis" will be offered on Sunday June 15th, targeted primarily at course participants who are familiar with basic concepts in survival analysis but who use other software packages.


Primary teachers: Paul Dickman and Paul Lambert
Teaching assistants: Mark Rutherford plus two more to be confirmed.
[Click here for faculty biographies]

Date and Location

The course will be held at Hotel Castel Brando, near Treviso in the Veneto region of Italy. Please visit the hotel web site for more information and photographs of this stunningly beautiful venue.

Who should attend

Epidemiologists, statisticians, physicians and oncologists, public health specialists and others with an interest in methods for studying cancer patient survival. [Further information]

Course fee and registration

See the home page of the Summer School on Modern Methods in Biostatistics and Epidemiology for information on the course fee, accommodation, and registration.


A significant amount of time will be allocated to hands-on computing sessions where participants will have the opportunity to apply the methods described in the course to real data. Stata version 13 will be the primary course software and a time-limited licence will be provided. Paul Lambert and Paul Dickman have each developed Stata commands for estimating and modelling relative survival. We will provide extensive exercises with printed solutions as well as Stata do files that participants can use as templates for analying their own data. Paul Lambert and Paul Dickman also have experience applying these methods in other software, such as SAS, R, and WinBUGS, and are willing to assist participants who wish to work with these packages but not all of the methods described in the course can be applied in other packages and we do not have the same level of expertise in other packages as we do in Stata. The computing sessions are also intended as a forum for participants to talk to the faculty about aspects of particular interest to them; five faculty members will be in attendance during each session which will make individual instruction possible. The course is designed to be accessible to participants without previous experience of using Stata.

The school will provide computers, but many participants prefer to bring their own laptop to ensure a familiar keyboard layout and software.

A 1-day course on "Introduction to Stata for survival analysis" will be offered on the Sunday prior to the course. The Stata course is aimed at participants who are familiar with standard methods in survival analysis (e.g., Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression) but who are not Stata users. There is an additional fee for the Stata course and registration is via the the home page of the Summer School on Modern Methods in Biostatistics and Epidemiology.

Course certificate and assessment

Each participant will receive a certificate of attendance. There is no formal examination. The course is not an official university course and successful completion of the course does not automatically entitle academic credits although registered students may be able to apply to their university for formal credit.

Course language

The course language will be English. All instruction and course materials will be in English.

Course organiser

The course is organised by theĀ Summer School on Modern Methods in Biostatistics and Epidemiology.

Castel Brando