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EU cancer death rate predictions published

Monday April 20th, 2020

Death rates from prostate cancer are predicted to fall across the EU and in the UK - except in Poland, according to predictions published today.

Research published in the latest edition of Annals of Oncology say that since 2015 there has been a 7% reduction in deaths from prostate cancer, with a predicted age standardised rate for 2020 of 10 men per 100,000 of the population. A total of 78,800 men are predicted to die from the disease this year.

However, Professor Carlo La Vecchia, of the University of Milan’s School of Medicine, who led the research, said Poland is the only EU country where death rates are predicted to rise this year by 18% since 2015, with an age standardised death rate of 15 per 100,000 men. The study says 6,100 men predicted die from prostate cancer by the end of 2020.

“Poland started with the lowest death rate from prostate cancer between 1970 to 1974, but then rates increased up to the year 2000, stabilised for a while and then rose again up to 2020,” says Prof La Vecchia.

“So Polish prostate cancer death rates are now the highest predicted. This is difficult to explain. It is possible that the recent relatively high rates are due to delayed adoption of modern diagnosis and treatment. Across the EU as a whole, the key message from these prostate cancer death rates is to adopt up-to-date surgery and radiotherapy techniques, together with newer androgen deprivation therapy.”

Although prostate cancer death rates are declining, the actual numbers of men dying from the disease are predicted to increase due to the EU’s ageing populations.

This pattern is seen in the predicted death rates and actual numbers of deaths for all cancers in the EU and for the 10 major cancers analysed in more detail. The researchers predict that death rates from all cancers will decline by 5% in men and 4% in women between 2015 and 2020, giving death rates of 130 per 100,000 and 82 per 100,000 respectively; but the predicted numbers of deaths will increase by 5%, reaching 1,428,000 by the end of this year: 798,700 in men and 630,100 in women.

The researchers looked at cancer death rates in the EU 28 Member States and also in the six largest countries – France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK – for all cancers, and, individually, for stomach, intestines, pancreas, lung, breast, uterus (including cervix), ovary, prostate, bladder and leukaemias for men and women.

The findings show that overall cancer death rates in Poland are predicted to be 28% higher than the EU average for men and 21% for women. This gap between central-eastern and western Europe is due to patterns in tobacco consumption, but also to a slower adoption of up-to-date prevention, disease management and treatment.

Among men, cancer death rates are falling across the EU as a whole, with more than half of this attributed to the declines in death rates from tobacco-related cancers.

However, death rates among women for lung and pancreas cancers are rising, according toth4e study. Researchers found a predicted increase of 6% in death rates for lung cancer between 2015 and 2020 (15.1 deaths per 100,000 and about 100,000 deaths) and an increase of 1.2% in pancreatic cancer (5.6 deaths per 100,000 and 46,200 deaths).

Women’s death rates from lung cancer overtook those from breast cancer in 2016 and this trend continues, with researchers predicting the death rate from breast cancer this year to be 13.5 per 100,000 (95,900 deaths), down 7.3% from 2015.

Professor La Vecchia said: “Death rates from lung cancer in women have been increasing persistently in the EU over the past decade, although the rate of increase is now slowing. Between 2010 and 2020 female lung cancer rates in the EU increased from about 13 to over 15 per 100,000. In the absence of effective intervention on tobacco smoking in women, the overall rate will probably reach 16 or 17 per 100,000 in 2030 and only level off in the subsequent decade.”

The researchers predict that compared to a peak rate of cancer deaths in 1988, over 5.7 million cancer deaths will be avoided in the EU in the 32-year period up to 2020. In 2020 alone, a total of 406,000 deaths from cancer are predicted to be averted (282,000 in men and 124,000 in women). For prostate cancer, 462,000 deaths will have been prevented over the 32-year period and 40,000 in 2020 alone.

Carioli G, Bertuccio P, Boffetta P et al. European cancer mortality predictions for the year 2020 with focus on prostate cancer. Annals of Oncology. 20 April 2020

Tags: Cancer | Europe | Men's Health | UK News

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