Timely monitoring of trends in long-term patient survival is an important task of cancer registries. Recently, a new method, denoted period analysis, has been proposed to enhance up-to-date monitoring of survival. The authors assessed the use of period analysis for advanced detection of time trends in long-term cancer patient survival based on data from the nationwide Finnish Cancer Registry by comparing estimates of 10-, 15-, and 20-year relative survival rates obtained by period analysis and by traditional (cohort) analysis of survival at various points of time between 1953 and 1997. Time trends are graphically displayed for the 15 most common forms of cancer. Long-term survival rates strongly improved over time for most forms of cancer. The slope and shape of trend curves obtained by period analysis are very similar to those obtained by traditional survival analysis. However, detection of progress in 10-, 15-, and 20-year survival rates of newly diagnosed patients could have been advanced by 5-10 years, 10-15 years, and 15-20 years, respectively, with the use of period analysis rather than traditional cohort survival analysis. The authors conclude that period analysis should be routinely used to advance detection of progress in long-term cancer patient survival.