Nordic countries' data offer a unique possibility to evaluate the long-term benefit of cervical cancer screening in a context of increasing risk of human papillomavirus infection.
Ad hoc-refined age-period-cohort models were applied to the last 50-year incidence data from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden to project expected cervical cancer cases in a no-screening scenario.
In the absence of screening, projected incidence rates for 2006-2010 in Nordic countries would have been between 3 and 5 times higher than observed rates. Over 60,000 cases or between 41 and 49% of the expected cases of cervical cancer may have been prevented by the introduction of screening in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Our study suggests that screening programmes might have prevented a HPV-driven epidemic of cervical cancer in Nordic countries. According to extrapolations from cohort effects, cervical cancer incidence rates in the Nordic countries would have been otherwise comparable to the highest incidence rates currently detected in low-income countries.
Trends in the incidence of and mortality from breast cancer result from a variety of influences including screening programmes, such as those introduced in several European countries in the late 1980s. Incidence and mortality rates for 16 European countries are analysed. Incidence increased in all countries. The estimated annual percent change (EAPC) varied from 0.8 to 2.8% in prescreening years in 6 'screened' countries and from 1.2 to 3.0% in 10 'non-screened' countries. Screening related temporary increases were visible. Earlier mortality trends were maintained in the most recent decade in Estonia (EAPC +1.8%) and Sweden (-1.2%). In other countries, previously increasing trends changed. Trends flattened in Finland, Denmark, France, Italy and Norway (EAPC 0.0 to -0.3%), while they declined in England and Wales (-3.1%), Scotland (-2.0%), and The Netherlands (-1.0%), all of which have national screening programmes, and in Slovakia (-1.1%), Spain (-0.7%), and Switzerland (-1.1%). In some countries with screening programmes, declines in mortality started before screening was introduced, and declines also occurred in non-screened age groups and in some countries without national screening programmes. This suggests that the major determinants of the observed trends vary among the countries and may include earlier detection through screening in countries where this has been introduced, but also improvements in therapy, in countries with or without screening.
Members of the European Network of Cancer Registries (ENCR) provide population-based data on cancer incidence for some countries and regions of Europe. These were supplemented by estimates in order to provide comparable information on cancer incidence and mortality in the 15 member states of the European Union (EU). The estimated numbers of new cases of cancer (excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer) in 1990 were approximately 706,900 in men and 644,200 in women. Approximately 497,500 men and 398,200 women died of cancer in the same year. The main sites of incident cases in men were lung (21%), large bowel (13%), prostate (12%), bladder (7%) and stomach (7%). For women, the predominant sites were breast (28%), large bowel (15%), lung (6%), uterine corpus (5%) and stomach (5%). The overall incidence rates for males were highest in continental Western Europe (France, The Netherlands, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany and Italy) while the rates of Greece, Portugal, Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Finland, the U.K. and Denmark were below the average value for the EC. Rates for females were highest in Northern and Western Europe, with the exception of France, which had a relatively low rate for females, in common with Greece, Spain and Portugal. The geographical variations in incidence of the major cancers are discussed in relation to risk factors. The estimates show the substantial burden of cancer in European Union populations, but there are also indications of effects of past preventive measures and there is scope for further intervention. Cancer registries are an important source of information for cancer control since they provide population-based incidence and survival statistics. These, along with mortality data, are required to obtain a full picture of the frequency of cancer and its effects at the population level. Some 44% of the EU population is covered by registries. The European Network of Cancer Registries aims to standardise the information provided by existing registries and to provide practical assistance to those in development.
The objective of the study was to compare patterns of survival 2001-2004 in prostate cancer patients from England, Norway and Sweden in relation to age and period of follow-up.
Excess mortality in men with prostate cancer was estimated using nation-wide cancer register data using a period approach for relative survival. 179,112 men in England, 23,192 in Norway and 59,697 in Sweden were included.
In all age groups, England had the lowest survival, particularly so among men aged 80+. Overall age-standardised five-year survival was 76.4%, 80.3% and 83.0% for England, Norway and Sweden, respectively. The majority of the excess deaths in England were confined to the first year of follow-up.
The results indicate that a small but important group of older patients present at a late stage and succumb early to their cancers, possibly in combination with severe comorbidity, and this situation is more common in England than in Norway or Sweden.
Cancer incidence and mortality estimates for 1995 are presented for the 38 countries in the four United Nations-defined areas of Europe, using World Health Organization mortality data and published estimates of incidence from national cancer registries. Additional estimation was required where national incidence data was not available, and the method involved incorporating the high quality incidence and mortality data available from the expanding number of population-based cancer registries in Europe. There were an estimated 2.6 million new cases of cancer in Europe in 1995, representing over one-quarter of the world burden of cancer. The corresponding number of deaths from cancer was approximately 1.6 million. After adjusting for differing population age structures, overall incidence rates in men were highest in the Western European countries (420.9 per 100,000), with only Austria having a rate under 400. Eastern European men had the second highest rates of cancer (414.2), with extremely high rates being observed in Hungary (566.6) and in the Czech Republic (480.5). The lowest male all-cancer rate by area was observed in the Northern European countries, with fairly low rates seen in Sweden (356.6) and the UK (377.8). In contrast to men, the highest rates in women were observed in Northern Europe (315.9) and were particularly high in Denmark (396.2) and the other Nordic countries excepting Finland. The rates of cancer in Eastern European women were lower than in the other three areas, although as with men, female rates were very high in Hungary (357.2) and in the Czech Republic (333.6). There was greater disparity in the mortality rates within Europe--generally, rates were highest in Eastern European countries, notably in Hungary, reflecting a combination of poorer cancer survival rates and a higher incidence of the more lethal neoplasms, notably cancer of the lung. Lung cancer, with an estimated 377,000 cases, was the most common cancer in Europe in 1995. Rates were particularly high in much of Eastern Europe reflecting current and past tobacco smoking habits of many of its inhabitants. Together with cancers of colon and rectum (334,000), and female breast (321,000), the three cancers represented approximately 40% of new cases in Europe. In men, the most common primary sites were lung (22% of all cancer cases), colon and rectum (12%) and prostate (11%), and in females, breast (26%), colon and rectum (14%) and stomach (7%). The number of deaths is determined by survival, as well as incidence; by far the most common cause of death was lung cancer (330,000)--about one-fifth of the total number of cancer deaths in Europe in 1995. Deaths from cancers of the colon and rectum (189,000) ranked second, followed by deaths from stomach cancer (152,000), which due to poorer survival ranked higher than breast cancer (124,000). Lung cancer was the most common cause of death from cancer in men (29%). Breast cancer was the leading cause of death in females (17%). Cancer registries are a unique source of information on cancer incidence and survival, and are used here with national mortality to demonstrate the very substantial burden of cancer in Europe, and the scope for prevention. Despite some provisos about data quality, the general patterns which emerge in Europe verify the role of past exposures and interventions, and more importantly, firmly establish the need for cancer control measures which target specific populations. In particular, there is a clear urgency to combat the ongoing tobacco epidemic, now prevalent in much of Europe, particularly in the Eastern countries.
Lung cancer, the most common cause of cancer death in the European Union (EU), continues to have an enormous impact on the health experience of the men and women living in the constituent countries. Information on the course of the lung cancer epidemic is essential in order to formulate an effective cancer control policy. This paper examines recent trends in lung cancer mortality rates in men and women in each of the 15 countries, comparing cross-sectional rates of death in younger (aged 30-64 years) and older populations (aged 65 years or over), and the age, period of death, and birth cohort influences in the younger age group. The latter analysis establishes the importance of year of birth, related to modifications in the tobacco habit among recently born generations. The stage of evolution of the lung cancer epidemic varies markedly by sex and country in terms of the direction, magnitude, and phase of development of national trends. In males, there is some consistency in the direction of the trends between EU countries, declines are apparent in most countries, at least in younger men, with rates in older men either reaching a plateau, or also falling. In younger persons, a decreasing risk of lung cancer death reflects changes in successive birth cohorts, due to modifications in the smoking habit from generation to generation, although these developments are in very different phases across countries. Portugal is the exception to the male trends; there are increases in mortality in both age groups, with little sign of a slowing down by birth cohort. In women, there are unambiguous upsurges in rates seen in younger and older women in almost all EU countries in recent decades, and little sign that the epidemic has or will soon reach a peak. The exceptions are the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, where lung cancer death rates are now declining in younger women and stabilising in older women, reflecting a declining risk in women born since about 1950. It is too early to say whether the observed plateau or decline in rates in women born very recently in several countries is real or random. To ascertain whether recent trends in lung cancer mortality will continue, trends in cigarette consumption should also be evaluated. Where data are available by country, the proportion of adult male smokers has, by and large, fallen steadily in the last five decades. In women, recent smoking trends are downwards in Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands, although in Austria and Spain, large increases in smoking prevalence amongst adults are emerging. Unambiguous public health messages must be effectively conveyed to the inhabitants of the EU if the lung cancer epidemic is to be controlled. It is imperative that anti-tobacco strategies urgently target women living in the EU, in order to halt their rapidly increasing risk of lung cancer, and prevent unnecessary, premature deaths among future generations of women.
Prostate cancer has emerged as the most frequent cancer amongst men in Europe, with incidence increasing rapidly over the past two decades. Incidence has been uniformly increasing in the 24 countries with comparable data available, although in a few countries with very high rates (Sweden, Finland and The Netherlands), incidence has begun to fall during the last 3-4 years. The highest prostate cancer mortality rates are in the Baltic region (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Prostate cancer mortality has been decreasing in 13 of the 37 European countries considered - predominantly in higher-resource countries within each region - beginning in England and Wales (1992) and more recently in the Czech Republic (2004). There was considerable variability in the magnitude of the annual declines, varying from approximately 1% in Scotland (from 1994) to over 4% for the more recent declines in Hungary, France and the Czech Republic. There appears little relation between the extent of the increases in incidence (in the late 1990s) and the recent mortality declines. It remains unclear to what extent the increasing trends in incidence indicate true risk and how much is due to detection of latent disease. The decreasing mortality after 1990 may be attributable to improvements in treatment and to an effect of prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing. The increase in mortality observed in the Baltic region and in several Central and Eastern European countries appear to reflect a real increase in risk and requires further monitoring.
OBJECTIVES: To compare the trends in prostate cancer incidence, treatment with curative intent and mortality across regions and counties in Norway, and to consider changes in incidence (an indicator for early diagnosis) and treatment with curative intent as explanatory factors for the decreasing prostate cancer mortality rates. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Prostate cancer incidence and mortality data (1980-2007) alongside treatment data (1987-2005) were obtained from the national, population-based Cancer Registry of Norway. Joinpoint regression models were fitted to age-adjusted incidence, treatment and mortality rates to identify linear changes in the trends. RESULTS: Both age-adjusted incidence rates and rates of curative treatment of prostate cancer increased significantly in all five regions of Norway since the early 1990s. There was a strong positive correlation between increasing incidence and increasing use of curative treatment. The frequency of curative treatment in Western Norway was almost threefold that in the Northern and Central regions around year 2000. Subsequently, the regional trends converged and only minor differences in prostate cancer incidence and use of curative treatment were observed by 2005. The declines in mortality were observed earliest in the regions with the highest incidence and the most frequent use of curative treatment, while the largest decreases in mortality were found in counties where the largest increases in curative treatment were observed. CONCLUSIONS: The elucidation of the prostate cancer mortality trends is hindered by an inability to tease out the potential effects of early treatment from the more general impact of improved and more active treatment. However, it is likely that both sets of intervention have contributed to the decline in prostate cancer mortality in Norway since 1996.
 Division of Medical Microbiology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Malmö University Hospital, Lund University, Entrance 78, Malmö SE-20502, Sweden  Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
Background:Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive neuroendocrine tumour of the skin that has been associated with a new tumour virus, the MCC polyomavirus.Methods:To investigate whether MCC may have a shared aetiology with other cancers, we investigated the risk of second cancers after the diagnosis of MCC using the national cancer registries in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.Results:The overall cancer incidence was increased among patients diagnosed with MCC compared with the general population in these countries (79 secondary cancers total, Standardized Incidence Ratio (SIR) 1.38 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.10-1.72); 49 secondary cancer in females, SIR 1.7 (95% CI: 1.29-2.25); 30 secondary cancers in males and SIR 1.05 (95% CI: 0.73-1.5)). There were significantly increased incidence ratios for non-melanoma skin cancers (34 secondary cancers, SIR 8.35 (95% CI: 5.97-11.68)), melanoma of skin (6 secondary cancers, SIR 4.29 (95% CI: 1.93-9.56)) and laryngeal cancer (2 secondary cancers, SIR 9.51 (95% CI: 2.38-38)). The SIRs for these three cancer sites were also elevated on restricting the follow-up to cancers occurring at least one year after MCC diagnosis.Conclusions:Patients diagnosed with MCC are at increased risk of a second cancer, particularly, other skin cancers. Conceivable explanations include the impact of increased surveillance of the skin and shared causative factors, for example, ultraviolet light exposure or MCC polyomavirus infection.