Mortality from major cancer sites in the European Union, 1955-1998

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

In: Annals of Oncology, 2003, vol. 14, no. 3, p. 490-495

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    After long-term rises, over the last decade age-standardised mortality from most common cancer sites has fallen in the European Union (EU). For males, the fall was 11% for lung and intestines, 12% for bladder, 6% for oral cavity and pharynx, and 5% for oesophagus. For females, the fall was 7% for breast and 21% for intestines. There were also persisting declines in stomach cancer (30% in both sexes), uterus (mainly cervix, -26%) and leukaemias (-10%). Mortality rates for other common neoplasms, including pancreas for both sexes, prostate and ovary, tended to stabilise. The only unfavourable trends were observed for female lung cancer (+15%). Lung cancer rates in women from the EU are approximately one-third of those in the USA, and 50% lower than breast cancer rates in the EU. Lung cancer rates in European women have also tended to stabilise below the age of 75 years. Thus, effective interventions on tobacco control could, in principle, avoid a major lung cancer epidemic in European women