March 20, 2018
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Colon cancer death rates will fall in Europe this year, experts say

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A report published in Annals of Oncology projects that colorectal cancer death rates in Europe may drop by as much as 7% in 2018 compared with rates in 2012.

Carlo La Vecchia, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Milan, Italy, and colleagues, also predicted lower death rates for most other cancers and called the development “one of the major success stories of the past 30 years in Europe.”

“Colorectal cancer is the most common cause of cancer death among non-smokers in both men and women,” La Vecchia said in a press release. “The fall in mortality that we are predicting for 2018 has been one of the major success stories in clinical oncology. This improvement in death rates in Europe comes in the absence of a single major breakthrough and is due to improved diagnosis and management of the disease.”

Using data on cancer deaths from 1970 to 2012 from the World Health Organization and population data from Eurostat, La Vecchia and colleagues analyzed cancer death rates from the 28 member-states of the European Union, as well as rates from its six largest countries — France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The researchers predicted that colorectal cancer will account for approximately 177,400 deaths in 2018. Although that amount is higher than the death toll in 2012 due to a growing elderly population, the death rate will fall by 6.7% in men to 15.8 deaths per 100,000 and by 7.5% in women to 9.2 deaths per 100,000.

La Vecchia said the availability of colonoscopy, as well as the use of aspirin for cardiovascular disease prevention, may partly explain the decreased mortality risk.

The researchers also predicted an increase in the total number of cancer deaths in Europe in 2018 (1.4 million) compared with 2012 (1.3 million). However, during that time, the death rate has fallen by 10.3% in men to 130 per 100,000 and by 5% in women to 84 per 100,000. – by Alex Young

Disclosures: The authors reported no relevant financial disclosures.