PROJECTED cancer mortality rates in the EU for 2014 show a fall in all types apart from lung cancer in women and pancreatic cancer in both sexes.
These findings come from a study by researchers in Italy and Switzerland, published this week in the Annals of Oncology.
The researchers predict there will be 1,323,600 deaths from cancer (742 500 men and 581 100 women) in 2014, or 138.1 per 100,000 men and 84.7 per 100,000 women. This represents a 7 per cent fall among men and 5 per cent fall among women compared to 2009 figures. Compared to peak rates in 1988, predicted cancer mortality rates show a 26 per cent decrease for men and 20 per cent decrease for women, translating to over 250,000 fewer deaths.
Predicted rates for lung cancer in men represent an 8 per cent drop since 2009, and 4 per cent for colorectal and 10 per cent for prostate cancer in the same period. The mortality rate for breast cancer in women has decreased 9 per cent since 2009 and 7 per cent for colorectal cancer, but female lung cancer rates show an 8 per cent rise.
Pancreatic cancer is the only neoplasm with a worse outlook in both sexes.
Researcher Professor Carlo La Vecchia of the University of Milan said: "Our predictions for 2014 confirm that pancreatic death rates are continuing to increase overall. This year we predict that 41,300 men and 41,000 women will die from pancreatic cancer – an age standardised rate of 8.0 and 5.6 deaths respectively per 100,000 of the population. This represents a small but steady increase since the beginning of this century; between 2000-2004 death rates from the disease were 7.6 per 100,000 men and 5.0 per 100,000 women.
"The increased death rate is cause for concern, because the prognosis for this tumour is bleak, with less than five percent of pancreatic cancer patients surviving for five years after diagnosis. As so few patients survive, the increase in deaths is very closely related to the increase in incidence of this disease. This makes pancreatic cancer a priority for finding better ways to prevent and control it and better treatments."
Tobacco, obesity, diabetes, high alcohol intake and a family history of pancreatic cancer are all recognised risk factors for the disease.