Cancer seen killing 1.3 mln EU citizens

Cancer seen killing 1.3 mln EU citizens

LONDON - Reuters
Cancer seen killing 1.3 mln EU citizens

Substantial reductions in the number of deaths from breast cancer will lower death rates for women, the study says.

Almost 1.3 million people will die of cancer in the European Union this year, but death rates from the disease are on a steady decline, according to new research released yesterday.

A study of all types of cancer across the 27-country EU bloc found that more men than women are likely to die from the disease, and that “substantial reductions” in the number of deaths from breast cancer would lower death rates for women.

Despite this, breast cancer remains the leading cause of female cancer deaths in the bloc. Lung cancer, caused mainly by smoking or inhaling second-hand smoke, kills more men in the European Union than any other type of cancer. Researchers from Italy and Switzerland, writing in the Annals of Oncology journal, predicted EU cancer death rates of 139 per 100,000 men and 85 per 100,000 women in 2012.

Compared with confirmed deaths in 2007 - the latest year for which there are World Health Organization death rate data for most EU countries - this would represent a fall of 10 percent in men and 7 percent in women, they said.

“Although actual numbers of deaths are slightly higher than those recorded for 2007, this is because a greater number of people are living into old age in the EU,” said Fabio Levi of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine and Lausanne University in Switzerland.

“The age-adjusted cancer mortality rates show a clear decrease in rates for both men and women over the past five years.”

The decline is due partly to falling smoking rates among men, and partly to advances in the prevention, detection and treatment of breast cancer in women, Levi said.