The authors write: "We observed the highest incidence of breast, prostate, testicular cancer and melanomas in Northern and Western Europe. However, cancers of the lung, cervix and stomach were more common in the South and Central parts of Europe. Within Northern Europe, for many tumours, we observed a distinction between the Scandinavian countries (often excluding Denmark) and the United Kingdom and Denmark, with higher rates for most cancers in the latter two countries."
They continue: "Europe is a large continent with large variations in life-style patterns, climate and healthcare systems. Variation in healthcare systems, e.g. professional organisation, has a large influence on the possibility of the population to attend programmes for early detection and access to care and treatment.
"Some of the improvements in cancer survival may be due to earlier detection (breast, prostate) but also due to increasing proportions of elderly patients receiving new or more aggressive treatment. Cervical cancer screening, on the other hand, resulted in poorer survival rates: the effect of screening is that fewer cancers develop, but those which do develop are often more aggressive. For some tumours, such as rectal tumours and Hodgkin's disease, staging procedures have improved treatment efficacy and survival rates. In many countries, cancer care has been regionalised, also driven by more specialised oncologists and, resulting in more optimal care for cancer patients and thus an improved survival."
The authors conclude: "Cancer prevention and management in Europe is moving in the right direction. Survival increased and mortality decreased through the combination of earlier detection, better access to care and improved treatment. Still, cancer prevention efforts have much to attain, especially in the domain of female smoking and the emerging obesity ep
|Contact: Emma Mason|
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation