Years of potential life lost: Evaluating premature cancer death in men

Patrick C. Friman, Jack W. Finney, J. Michael Leibowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Cancer is one of the most serious health concerns facing the nation. Health care policy makers who determine cancer research and treatment priorities must analyze death rates as an indicator of public health priorities. Two additional indexes that account for premature death include years of potential life lost (YPLL) and potential years of life lost per death (YPLL/D). Data for ten leading causes of cancer death in men from 1974-1983 were analyzed and the YPLL and YPLL/D corresponding to these cancers was calculated. Each cancer was then ranked from most to least significant according to each index. The analyses show that using YPLL and YPLL/D to evaluate cancer death in men results in rankings that differ from those obtained when using death rates alone. The premature death indexes, when used in combination with traditional mortality indexes, would enhance the data base used by funding agencies who select and evaluate cancer treatment and prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-106
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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