Trends in mortality from major cancers in the European Union, including acceding countries, in 2004.Cancer. 2004 Dec 15; 101(12):2843-50.C
In May 2004, 10 additional countries joined the European Union (EU), including a total of 75 million inhabitants. Most of these were from central and eastern European countries with comparably high cancer mortality rates and with relatively unfavorable trends. Therefore, it is important to provide updated mortality data regarding major cancers in various countries and to analyze trends for the current population of the EU.
The authors considered mortality rates (directly standardized to the world standard population) for all cancers and for 8 major cancer sites in the year 2000 in the 25 countries of the EU and analyzed corresponding trends since 1980 using data derived from the World Health Organization data base.
For men, overall cancer mortality in the year 2000 varied by a factor > 2 between the highest rate of 258.5 per 100,000 men in Hungary and the lowest rate of 122.0 per 100,000 men in Sweden. Central and Eastern European accession countries had the highest rates not only for lung and other tobacco-related cancers but also for gastrointestinal cancers and leukemias. The geographic pattern was different and the range of variation was smaller for women, i.e., between 136.7 per 100,000 women in Denmark and 76.4 per 100,000 women in Spain in the year 2000. In the EU as a whole, lung cancer mortality in men peaked at 55.4 per 100,000 men in 1988 and declined thereafter to 46.7 per 100,000 men in 2000. Gastric cancer steadily declined from 19.7 per 100,000 men in 1980 to 10.1 per 100,000 men in 2000. Other major sites showed moderately favorable trends over the last few years. In women, breast cancer peaked at 21.7 per 100,000 in 1989 and declined to 18.9 per 100,000 in 2000. Mortality from gastric, (cervix) uterus, and intestinal cancers demonstrated steady decreases, but lung cancer increased from 7.7 per 100,000 women in 1980 to 11.1 per 100,000 women in 2000. The increase in lung cancer mortality in women age < 55 years was 38% between 1990 and 2000 (from 2.16 per 100,000 women to 2.99 per 100,000 women), reflecting the spread of tobacco smoking among women in the EU over the last few decades.
The priority for further reduction of cancer mortality in the EU remains tobacco control together with more widespread availability of modern diagnostic and treatment procedures for neoplasms that are amenable to treatment.