Screening programmes needed
The second most common cause of cancer death in both men and women was colorectal cancer. "There remains hope that dietary modifications, increased physical activity and avoidance of obesity could lead to reductions in the incidence and mortality from colorectal cancer," said Prof Boyle. "However, progress has been very slow; the number of deaths has increased by 1.8% since our previous 2004 estimates. Screening for colorectal cancer has been shown to be effective, and clearly there is a need for organised colorectal cancer screening programmes throughout Europe."
Deaths from stomach cancer are continuing to decline in men and women throughout Europe, although it still accounts for 5.6% of all new cases of cancer (5.9% in 2004) and 7.4% of all cancer deaths (8.1% in 2004). "However, higher incidence and mortality rates occur in the Central and Eastern European countries, possibly reflecting a lower level of affluence, a diet lower in fresh fruits and vegetables and higher rates of Helicobacter pylori infection," said Prof Boyle.
Significant differences in the chances of surviving other cancers existed between the Eastern and Baltic European countries and other European countries. In the 25 member countries of the European Union an estimated 23,600 women died from cancer of the uterus in 2006 and 46,600 died in the whole of Europe.. "The number of years of life lost could be reduced in women living in Central and Eastern European countries if efficient national cervical cancer screening programmes were in place," said Prof Boyle.
He concluded: "The increased burden of cancer incidence in Europe between 2004 and 2006, which is estimated to have risen by 300,000 to 3.2 million, demonstrates the impact of the ageing of the European popul
Contact: Emma Mason
European Society for Medical Oncology