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Cancer death rates in Europe continue to fall, latest research shows

Cancer death rates in Europe continue to fall, latest research shows
Source: Unsplash/Ani Kolleshi

Overall cancer death rates in Europe continue to fall among both men and women – with the notable exception of pancreatic cancer in both sexes and lung cancer among women – according to latest data.

European cancer deaths in decline for past 30 years

A new study has shown that cancer deaths in Europe have plummeted in the last three decades. Compared to the peak mortality rate, recorded in 1988, 4.9 million cancer deaths will have been averted in the EU and over one million in the UK by the end of 2021. 

The researchers predict that by the end of 2021, the number of deaths from the 10 most common cancers analysed will reach 1,443,000 in the European Union and 176,000 in the United Kingdom.
The favourable trends in cancer mortality documented in previous years are confirmed. The researchers predict that by the end of 2021, the number of deaths from the 10 most common cancers analysed will reach 1,443,000 in the European Union and 176,000 in the United Kingdom. Source: Unsplash/National Cancer Institute

pancreatic cancer remains the only one showing no overall fall in death rates in 30 years

Cancer death rates overall continue to fall among both men and women in Europe, with the notable exception of pancreatic cancer in both sexes and lung cancer among women living in the European Union, notes an update report.

"Among the major cancers, pancreatic cancer…remains the only one showing no overall fall in death rates over the past three decades in Europe in both sexes," coauthor Carlo La Vecchia, MD, University of Milan, Milan, Italy, said in a statement.

"It is important that governments and policymakers provide adequate resources for the prevention, early diagnosis, and management of pancreatic cancer in order to improve these trends in the near future," he added.

The report was published online 22 February in Annals of Oncology.

Source: Medscape

There is also the need to improve the adoption rate of more effective diagnosis, therapy and management in Eastern Europe. Pancreatic cancer should be a major focus of public health efforts, since it continues its comparably unfavourable trend, with little in the way of better therapy or management options.
The favourable trends in cancer mortality documented in previous years are confirmed, as are the priorities in tobacco uptake prevention and cessation promotion, with particular attention to women. There is also the need to improve the adoption rate of more effective diagnosis, therapy and management in Eastern Europe. Pancreatic cancer should be a major focus of public health efforts, since it continues its comparably unfavourable trend, with little in the way of better therapy or management options. Source: Unsplash/National Cancer Institute

Many cancers remain in decline

Death certification data from the World Health Organization database were analysed to estimate total mortality from cancer as well as cancer death rates at 10 major tumor sites.

The investigators regarded the European Union as including 27 member nations. The United Kingdom is no longer part of the European Union, following Brexit; estimates were made for the United Kingdom separately.

Predicted declines in death rates from other cancers in the European Union between 2015 and 2021 include the following:

  • 7.8% decline for breast cancer
  • 4.8% decline for colorectal cancer in men and a 9.6% decline in women
  • 8.7% decline for prostate cancer
  • 3.5% decline for uterine cancer
  • 8.9% decline for ovarian cancer
  • 14.1% decline for stomach cancer in men and a 16.3% decline in women.

The researchers predict that by the end of 2021, the number of deaths from the 10 most common cancers analysed will reach 1,443,000 in the European Union and 176,000 in the United Kingdom.

Source: Medscape

Tobacco control remains a priority for the prevention of pancreatic and other tobacco-related cancers, which account for one-third of the total EU cancer deaths, especially in women, who showed less favourable trends.
While overall cancer mortality continues to fall in both sexes, specific focus is needed on pancreatic cancer, which shows a sizeable decline for young men only. Tobacco control remains a priority for the prevention of pancreatic and other tobacco-related cancers, which account for one-third of the total EU cancer deaths, especially in women, who showed less favourable trends. Source: Unsplash/National Cancer Institute

favourable trends in cancer mortality confirmed

Compared to the peak mortality rate from cancer, recorded in 1988, over 4.9 million cancer deaths will have been averted in the European Union and over one million deaths averted in the United Kingdom over a 33-year period through 2021.

"The favourable trends in cancer mortality documented in previous years are confirmed," the researchers were quoted as saying in Medscape. 

They conclude that while overall cancer mortality continues to fall in both sexes, specific focus is needed on pancreatic cancer, which shows a sizeable decline for young men only. Tobacco control remains a priority for the prevention of pancreatic and other tobacco-related cancers, which account for one-third of the total EU cancer deaths, especially in women, who showed less favourable trends.

Read the study published online 22 February in Annals of Oncology.

Cancer mortality projections confirm the persistent declines in total cancer mortality in both sexes in Europe, and for several specific malignancies
The analysis gives cause for hope. Cancer mortality projections confirm the persistent declines in total cancer mortality in both sexes in Europe, and for several specific malignancies Source: Unsplash/National Cancer Institute
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