"Smaller improvements in diagnosis and treatment partly or largely explain the less favourable trends in Poland and Spain," said Prof La Vecchia. "Tobacco and diet are other possible reasons, since they have evolved less favourably in these countries than in most other European countries."
Pancreatic cancer is the only cancer for which death rates are not predicted to decline in both sexes and, in fact, may rise in 2013. There will be a predicted 40,069 deaths (8 per 100,000) in men and 40,197 deaths (5.5 per 100,000) in women in 2013. These rates are higher than those recorded for 2009 of 7.9 per 100,000 in men and 5.4 per 100,000 in women. Among women in Germany the death rate will be higher (6.3 per 100,000), while it will be lower among Spanish women (4.1 per 100,000) compared to the EU average. Men in France have the highest predicted rate (8.7 per 100,000), while the other countries in the study had more stable rates among men, with Spain and the UK having lower rates (6.6 per 100,000) than the EU average.
Prof La Vecchia said: "The best ways of preventing pancreatic cancer is to avoid tobacco, and to avoid being overweight and the consequent onset of diabetes that this can bring. This could prevent about a third of pancreatic cancers in the EU. No other major risk factor is known, and there is nothing happening with regard to diagnosis and treatment that could materially influence national death rates."
Co-author Professor Fabio Levi (MD), Head of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois and University of Lausanne, (Switzerland), said: "The key message for EU national governments from this study is tobacco control, particularly among middle-aged men and women, i.e. the European generations most heavil
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European Society for Medical Oncology