EU cancer deaths projected to continue declining in 2019

  • Malvezzi M & al.
  • Ann Oncol
  • 19 Mar 2019

  • curated by Miriam Davis, PhD
  • Univadis Clinical Summaries
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Takeaway

  • In 2019, age-standardized cancer death rates in the European Union (EU) are projected to have decreased since 2014 by nearly 6% in men and 4% in women, driven largely by fewer lung cancer deaths in men and breast cancer deaths in women.
  • Since 1989, 5,290,000 cancer deaths have been avoided, including 440,000 breast cancer deaths.

Why this matters

  • Cancer prevention and treatment efforts are credited for the decline, but smoking cessation remains a priority because lung cancer is predicted to cause approximately 20% of total cancer deaths in 2019.

Study design

  • Modeling study using cancer death certificates and population data from the WHO and Eurostat databases for 1970-2014.
  • Estimates for 2019 were prepared by linear regression.
  • Cancer deaths averted are based on 1988 age-specific peak rates.
  • Funding: Italian Association for Cancer Research.

Key results

  • An estimated 1,410,000 cancer deaths are projected in the EU in 2019. While this number is an absolute increase of 4.8% since 2014, when the numbers are age-standardized, the mortality rates are projected to decline by nearly 6% in men and 4% in women.
  • The decline is attributable to a 9.2% reduction in lung cancer deaths in men and an 8.7% reduction in breast cancer deaths in women.
  • Since 1989, 5,290,000 cancer deaths have been averted, including 440,000 breast cancer deaths.
  • Pancreatic cancer is the only cancer showing a gradual increase since 1970.

Limitations

  • 2019 deaths are projections.

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