November 30, 2009 / 12:25 AM / 8 years ago

FACTBOX - Cancer deaths in Europe

Nov 30 (Reuters) - A study on deaths from cancer in Europe shows a steady decline in death rates between the periods 1990-1994 and 2000-2004 with deaths from all cancers falling by nine percent in men and eight percent in women.

Here are details of the death rates from particular cancers.


-- Overall male mortality declined by about 10 percent, but death rates increased in women. Tobacco smoking and alcohol are the major risk factors for these cancers, accounting for more than 80 percent of cases. "Countries like France and Italy, which had the highest alcohol consumption up to the early 1980s, but where alcohol drinking has substantially declined, showed favourable trends in oral cancer mortality ... whereas male trends were less favourable in most countries from northern Europe, where alcohol drinking has increased," the authors wrote.


-- Deaths from lung cancer in EU men have declined overall. They fell by 17 percent in men from 1995 to 2004, but over the same period they rose by 27 percent in women.

Between 2000-2004, the highest male lung cancer mortality rates were in Hungary, Poland, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Russia and the Baltic countries. For women in the same period, the highest rates were in Scotland and Hungary.


-- Also strongly related to tobacco and alcohol, oesophageal cancer mortality has decreased moderately in men, but remained stable in women overall, while rising in middle-aged women.

Deaths fell substantially in France, Italy and Spain for the same reasons as for oral cancers, but increased in most of northern, central and eastern Europe, with particularly high rises in Denmark, Scotland and the Baltic countries.


- Mortality rates from skin cancers are still rising in the EU for both men and women, but death rates in middle age are stabilising, and levelling off in younger people. "A possible explanation could be that the health messages about the dangers of sun exposure are beginning to reach the younger generations," said Cristina Bosetti, head of the cancer unit at Italy’s Mario Negri department of epidemiology.


-- Breast cancer mortality has declined by 13 percent for all ages, by 17 percent between the ages of 35-64, by 25 percent between the ages of 35-44, but only by 6 percent for women aged 65 and over. Mortality rates have fallen substantially in Britain and other west European countries, but remained stable or rose in Russia and most eastern European countries.


-- Deaths from cancers of the cervix have fallen by 19 percent overall but remain high in Russia and eastern Europe. In western and northern Europe the decline is due to the wider adoption of cervical cancer screening programmes. The higher death rates in eastern Europe demand the "urgent adoption" of cervical screening programmes, the researchers said.


-- In the EU as a whole there were modest declines in prostate cancer deaths of about four percent. There were falls in France, Germany and Britain -- which could be attributed to better therapy and management of prostate cancer -- but death rates were still increasing in Russia, the Baltic countries, Poland and other eastern European countries.

SOURCE: The Annals of Oncology cancer journal. ((For a related story on the study, click on [ID:nGEE5AQ0N3])) (Reporting by Kate Kelland; editing by Tim Pearce) ((; +44 (0)207 542 0823))

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