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New figures on cancer in Europe show a steady decline in mortality but big variations
Date:11/29/2009

New figures on deaths from cancer in Europe show a steady decline in mortality between the periods 1990-1994 and 2000-2004. Deaths from all cancers in the European Union (EU) between these two periods fell by nine percent in men and eight percent in women, with a large drop among the middle-aged population.

In a study published online in the cancer journal, Annals of Oncology [1] today (Monday 30 November), researchers found that there was an average 185.2 deaths per 100,000 of the population per year in men between 1990-1994 in 27 member states of the EU, but this fell to 168 deaths per 100,000 between 2000-2004. For women, the number of deaths fell from 104.8 to 96.9 per 100,000.

The researchers, led by Professor Carlo La Vecchia (MD), head of the Department of Epidemiology at the Mario Negri Institute and associate professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Milan (Italy), and 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), say that the persistent downward trend is driven largely by changes in tobacco consumption, with large falls in lung and other tobacco-related cancers in men. A steady decline in gastric cancers and, recently, declines in colorectal cancer have also contributed to the overall drop in mortality rates. However, the picture is variable across Europe and between sexes. For instance, where alcohol or tobacco consumption, or a combination of the two, has increased (particularly in women), there has been a rise in deaths from cancers known to have these as risk factors, such as lung, mouth, pharynx and oesophagus.

Dr Cristina Bosetti (ScD), head of the Unit of Cancer Epidemiology at the Mario Negri Department of Epidemiology, said: "The key message of our paper is that the favourable trends in cancer mortality in Europe have continued over the most recen
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
44-771-129-6986
European Society for Medical Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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