Changed trends of cancer mortality in the elderly

Levi, F. ; Lucchini, F. ; Negri, E. ; Boyle, P. ; Vecchia, C. La

In: Annals of Oncology, 2001, vol. 12, no. 10, p. 1467-1477

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    Summary Background: Trends in cancer mortality for the elderly have long been unfavourable. Materials and methods: Mortality from 12 major cancer sites, plus total cancer mortality at age 65-84 in 23 European countries, the US and Japan was analyzed. Results: Between the late 1980s and the late 1990s total cancer mortality at age 65 to 84 has been declining in the European Union (UE) (−5.5% in males, −4.5% in females), in United States (US) males (−2.3%), but not females (+4.4%), and in Japanese females (−5.6%), but not males (+6.3%). Cancer mortality in the elderly rose for both sexes in eastern Europe. Gastric cancer mortality declined in all the areas. Lung cancer rates declined over the last decade by 8.5% in males in the EU, and by 0.9% in the US. Rates were still increasing in eastern Europe, in Japanese males and in females in all areas. Pancreatic mortality rates were increasing in both sexes in the EU and Japan up to the late 1980s, and in eastern Europe up to the 1990s, whereas rates for US males have been declining over recent years. Breast cancer mortality has declined over the last decade by 8% in the US and by 3% in the EU, while it has risen in eastern Europe and in Japan. Mortality from breast and prostate as well as ovarian cancer remained however low in elderly Japanese. Prostate cancer mortality declined in the EU and in the US, whereas it rose in eastern Europe and in Japan. Mortality from lymphomas and multiple myeloma rose in both sexes and various geographic areas, but improved diagnosis and certification may have played a role in these trends. Mortality from leukemia in the elderly increased in eastern Europe and Japan, but was stable in the US and the EU. Conclusions: Cancer mortality in the elderly has stopped systematically rising, and is on the decline in males since the late 1980s