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How would you translate the terms "survival" and "overall survival" as used in an academic/medical text, for example in the sentence "The new drug improved overall survival for ovarian cancer patients by 60 %."

I've been using "Überleben" and "Gesamtüberleben", but it sounds awkward. Does it need to be translated at all? Is there a standard or common usage for German medical texts?

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What does "overall survival" actually mean? Is it how many years the patients survive, or is it some survival rate? –  Hendrik Vogt Aug 16 '11 at 7:12
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A good strategy for this kind of questions is to look it up in Wikipedia and move to the other language. secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Survival_rate secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/de/wiki/%C3%9Cberlebensrate –  starblue Aug 16 '11 at 13:21

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

In addition to use the technical term "Überlebensrate":

Das neue Medikament verbesserte die (Gesamt)überlebensrate aller Patientinnen mit einem Ovarialkarzinom um 60%.

What you could also use in another context, and if there is no statistical survival rate (in the given example the small but significant "by" indicates that this might be the case here - that's why I changed the numbers):

Mit der neuen Therapie überlebten (insgesamt) 20% aller Patientinnen mit einem Ovaralkarzinom.

"Gesamt-" or "insgesamt" translates to overall here.

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a) Wo kommen die Frauen her? b) Was soll Gesamt~ oder aller? Die Überlebensrate aller Patienten stieg auf 100% (außer der toten). –  user unknown Aug 16 '11 at 12:41
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@user unknown: patients suffering from ovarian cancer are very unlikely to be other than female. –  Takkat Aug 16 '11 at 13:01
    
And why isn't this expressed in the english sentence? –  user unknown Aug 16 '11 at 13:06

Das neue Medikament verbesserte die Überlebensrate der Patienten mit einem Ovarialkarzinom um 60%.

Die Rate der Patienten ist ja die Anzahl derer, die überlebten dividiert durch die Anzahl aller Patienten. Von 'Gesamt~' oder 'allen' zu sprechen ist daher Quatsch.

Abweichend könnte man von einer Steigerung der Überlebenschance je Patient um 60% sprechen.

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I would go with "Überlebensrate" (rate of survival), which is the quota or amount of people that survive.

"Überlebenschance" (chance of survival) looks more elegant but is not used in the given context.

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"...rate" or rate in english would be the correct translation for a percentage. I would definitely go with this answer. –  Herr K Aug 16 '11 at 7:15
    
I can see where you're coming from, "Überlebensrate" did sound better from the start. So yes, agreed with all the others. –  Katharina Nickel Aug 16 '11 at 9:09

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