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Reduced cancer mortality in Germany - but not for these cancers


Colorectal cancer: mortality continues to decrease - especially in Germany

A study by an international team of researchers showed that cancer mortality in the European Union has decreased significantly in recent years. This is particularly true in Germany for colorectal cancer. However, mortality increased with other types of cancer.

Cancer mortality is declining

According to a recent study, cancer mortality in the EU has decreased significantly in recent years. As the international research team reports in the specialist magazine "Annals of Oncology", the development is particularly favorable for colorectal cancer. Germany is particularly good at this type of cancer compared to other European countries. However, mortality has increased for other types of cancer.

Positive trend not for all types of cancer

Just a few weeks ago, scientists around Dr. Claudia Allemani of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (UK) published a study that showed that more and more people survive cancer.

A team of researchers led by Carlo La Vecchia, professor at the medical faculty of the University of Milan (Italy), has now also concluded in a study that cancer deaths - especially colon cancer - are on the decline in Europe.

But while this trend for men is positive for all types of cancer examined, women are now more likely to die from lung and pancreatic cancer.

Great success story

The team led by Carlo La Vecchia has been publishing data on cancer mortality since 2011, each focusing on a specific type of tumor. This year, the scientists focused on colorectal cancer.

"The decline in deaths from colon cancer in Europe is a great success story," says a message from the European Society for Medical Oncology, which was published in the journal "EurekAlert!"

According to the researchers, who use WHO numbers since 1970 and recent developments to predict mortality, it is predicted that almost 1.4 million people will die from cancer in the EU in 2018.

In 2012, the number was only 1.3 million, but the population is generally getting older. Taking this fact into account, mortality fell by a good ten in men and five percent in women from 2012 to 2018.

Colon cancer deaths will continue to decrease

The positive trend is particularly clear in colorectal cancer. Although the absolute number of fatalities rose here due to the higher number of older people, when this fact is taken into account, mortality has fallen by 6.7 percent in men and 7.5 percent in women since 2012.

According to the information, almost 16 out of 100,000 men and a good nine out of 100,000 women die of colorectal cancer every year.

But the number of deaths from colorectal cancer will probably continue to decrease, according to the researchers:

"The decline in mortality that we forecast for 2018 is one of the most important success stories in clinical oncology. This improvement in death rates in Europe is without a single major breakthrough and is due to improved diagnosis and treatment of the disease," said Carlo La Vecchia.

Better early detection

"Factors that increase the risk of colorectal cancer are tobacco, alcohol, obesity, diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet," the study author continued.

According to doctors, a healthier lifestyle can significantly reduce the personal risk of cancer.

According to the expert, the “use of aspirin, mainly for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes, as well as effective screening” may have contributed to lowering the disease rates.

"The availability of colonoscopy to study bleeding and other early symptoms has improved early diagnosis across Europe," said La Vecchia.

Pancreatic cancer and lung cancer in women

As the study showed, Germany does particularly well among the six most populous EU countries (France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Great Britain) for colorectal cancer.

According to the information, the development here has been cheapest since 2012. Accordingly, mortality fell by over 14 percent in men and by a good 15 percent in women.

Lung cancer is predicted to have the highest mortality in the EU, with 32 out of 100,000 men and 15 out of 100,000 women.

In their conclusion, the study authors write that they anticipate a further decline in cancer mortality rates in the EU and its most important countries. "Exceptions are pancreatic cancer and lung cancer in women." (Ad)

Author and source information

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