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.
OBJECTIVE: To facilitate the quantitative comparison of AIDS incidence statistics between countries and with other diseases using statistics based on age-standardized incidence rates instead of absolute number of cases. DESIGN: AIDS incidence rates for 19 countries belonging to the World Health Organization (WHO) European region, and for comparative purposes, the United States. METHODS: Incidence rates were standardized using the world standard population for all ages, from 1985 to 1992. The data were derived from the WHO European Non-Aggregate AIDS Dataset and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) AIDS Public Information Dataset, adjusted for reporting delays in each country. RESULTS: The AIDS incidence rate for men (81 in 1,000,000) in the United States was fourfold higher than the highest rate in a European country (Switzerland) in 1985; incidence rates in all other European countries, except France and Denmark, were below 10 in 1,000,000. Subsequently, AIDS incidence has increased more rapidly in southern Europe than in the rest of the continent. The estimated incidence rate for men in Spain (243 in 1,000,000) approached that in the United States (304 in 1,000,000) in 1992, and three additional countries (France, Switzerland and Italy) showed rates above 100 per million. The spread of the AIDS epidemic among women in some southern European countries was faster than in the United States. In Switzerland and Spain the standardized incidence rates in women were higher than in the United States by 1988 and 1992, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Analysis trends in incidence rates avoids some weaknesses of AIDS statistics based on absolute numbers, and should become one of the standard tools for AIDS surveillance.
On the basis of overall national death certification data, it is not possible to analyse mortality from cervical cancer in Europe, since 20-65% of deaths from uterine cancer in largest countries are still certified as uterus, unspecified. We analysed, therefore, age-standardised death certification rates from uterine cancer between 1960 and 1998 in women aged 20-44 years, since most deaths from uterine cancer below the age of 45 years arise from the cervix. In all Western European countries, except Ireland, substantial declines in cervical cancer mortality in younger women were observed, although the falls were larger and earlier for some Nordic countries. The trends were irregular in the UK, with earlier declines between 1960 and 1970, followed by a rise between 1970 and 1985, and a subsequent fall. In Ireland, mortality from uterine cancer at age 20 to 44 years has been rising since the early 1980s, to reach 3.4/100000 in 1995-1996. In Eastern Europe, some fall in mortality was observed in Hungary and Poland, while trends were upwards in Romania since 1980, and in Bulgaria. In all these countries, moreover, absolute rates remained appreciably higher than in most of Western Europe, and in the late 1990s there was over a 10-fold variation between the highest rates in Romania (10.6/100000 women aged 20-44 years) and the lowest ones in Finland (0.5/100000) or Sweden (0.9/100000). Within the European Union, the variation was over 6-fold, the highest rates being registered in Ireland (3. 4/100000) and Portugal (3.2/100000). The declines registered in cervical cancer mortality in young women were largely due to screening, and the persisting variations in mortality across Europe underline the importance of the adoption of organised screening programmes, with specific urgency in Eastern Europe.
The two main determinants of oral and oesophageal cancer in Europe are alcohol and tobacco, and the two cancer sites show several similarities in their descriptive epidemiology. This study compares mortality from cancers of the oral cavity and oesophagus in European countries to evaluate similarities and differences. From official death certification numbers and population estimates, we obtained age-standardized rates for all ages and truncated (35-64 years). In most countries, rates for men tended to increase between 1955-59 and 1990-92 for both sites, although the increases were more marked for oral cancer. In the UK and Ireland, however, oral cancer decreased and oesophageal cancer increased, while in Finland and Iceland mortality for both sites decreased. The most striking increases were in Hungary, where the truncated rate in most recent calendar periods reached the highest levels in Europe. In France, rates for both cancers were extremely high: oral cancer increased from 1955-59 to the early 1980s, but started to decline afterwards. Mortality rates were much lower for women than men, and the correlation between the two sites was less marked. An age, period and cohort model, applied to the rates for men in selected European countries, suggested strong cohort effects for both cancers, generally more marked for oral cancer, with substantial increases in the cohorts born after 1920. The mortality rates of cancers of the oral cavity and oesophagus show several analogies, as expected from their relation to tobacco and alcohol; but some discrepancies suggest that other, less well-identified, factors may also influence their rates and trends in Europe.
Trends in ovarian cancer mortality over the period 1955-1989 were analyzed for 25 European countries (excluding the Soviet Union and a few small countries) on the basis of the official death certification data from the World Health Organization database. The overall variation in age-standardized ovarian cancer mortality at all ages declined appreciably, from over 17-fold during the period 1955-1959 (i.e., between 10.5/100,000 in Denmark and 0.6/100,000 in Spain, world standard) to 3.4-fold (i.e., between 9.9/100,000 in Denmark and 2.9/100,000 in Spain) in the late 1980s. When a comparison was made between the late 1950s and the 1980s, ovarian cancer mortality increased in most European countries, except Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland, where certified mortality was already elevated in the late 1950s, although also in these countries the peak rate around or over 10/100,000 was reached during the 1960s. However, when the changes over the last decade were considered, ovarian cancer mortality trends were downward in all Nordic countries, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. Mortality was rising somewhat, though to a smaller extent, in Ireland, Britain, and Southern Europe. Trends were more favorable in middle-aged women (35 to 64 years), and, to an even greater extent, in young women (aged 20 to 44), among whom substantial declines, particularly over the last decade, were observed in most European countries, approaching 50% in Britain and Scandinavia. These trends are discussed in terms of changes in risk factor exposure (i.e., trends in average parity and oral contraceptive use), diagnostic and therapeutic improvements, ovariectomy, and changes in case ascertainment and certification.
An excess of classic Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) in individuals of southern European ancestry has long been suspected and recently quantified in terms of age-standardized rates. In Italy and most notably in southern Italy for the period 1976-84, prior to the AIDS epidemic, KS incidence rates were two-to-three-fold higher than in the United States and Sweden and many ten-fold higher than in England and Wales and Australia. A high frequency of classic KS has also been documented in Israel and, in low-risk countries, in individuals born in southern Europe and the Middle East. Many infections have been suspected to play a role in the etiology of KS, including cytomegalovirus, malaria and, most recently, a new virus of the herpes family, identified in AIDS-associated and classic KS. The present review deals with epidemiologic data concerning KS in the Mediterranean and stresses the opportunity to combine the study of KS in AIDS as well as non-AIDS patients in order to shed light on this no longer rare disease.
Increases in cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) incidence and mortality rates have occurred in the last decades in virtually all white populations, more markedly in those which permanently (immigrants) or temporarily (tourists/vacationers) reside in very sunny areas distant from their original living environment. The strong relationship between sex and site of CMM in these upward trends (ie trunk in males, lower limbs and, more recently, trunk as well in females) points to intense intermittent ultraviolet light exposure as the cause of the CMM epidemic. In Europe the highest rates of melanoma are seen in Denmark, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany, where many individuals have light complexion with tendency to burn. Increases of 2 to 7% per year in mortality rates appeared earlier in these countries, but were subsequently seen also in relatively low-risk areas such as southern European countries. The interpretation of data from case-control studies is, however, hampered by the difficulties in quantifying retrospectively CMM risk correlates (ie host factors, sun exposure, clothing habits, sunburns etc) in various periods during the life span.
The role of enhanced thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) secretion, in the aetiology of thyroid cancer is not totally consistent. Circumstances and conditions which cause (e.g., iodine deficiency, through suboptimal intake in water and food) or indicate (e.g., goitre) increased TSH secretion have been associated to increased risk of thyroid cancer, most notably follicular and anaplastic carcinomas. Elevated incidence and mortality rates of thyroid cancer, however, are also found in areas were iodine intake is high (Hawaii, Iceland). At least in some countries (Switzerland), a favourable impact of the introduction of iodized salt on mortality from thyroid cancer has been reported. Elsewhere, the correction of iodine deficiency has coincided with elevations of diagnostic standards (e.g., spread of thyroid scintigraphy, ultrasound, and fine-needle biopsy) and corresponding increases in incidence of papillary carcinomas, often clinically silent, thus hampering a distinction of the two phenomena. Upward trends of papillary carcinoma incidence have, however, been seen in most affluent countries, irrespective of the iodine status of the population.
The incidence of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) in 1976-90 was assessed in Italy, taking advantage of a network of nine population-based cancer registries covering, at its maximum, approximately 5.6 million subjects. The first examined period (1976-84) substantially reflects the epidemiology of KS prior to the AIDS epidemic in the registration areas. Elevated incidence rates, standardised to the Italian population of 1981, of 1.05/100,000 men and 0.27/100,000 women emerged in 1976-84 (i.e. from two- to threefold higher than in the USA and Sweden, more than tenfold higher than in England and Wales). These high rates, especially remarkable in the Registry from the south of Italy (i.e. Ragusa, 3.01/100,000 men and 0.54/100,000 women) suggest that the prevalence of the still unknown causative agent for KS was high, at least in some parts of Italy, prior to the AIDS epidemic. In the most recent period (1985-90), an approximately twofold increase in KS incidence rates in Italian men below age 50 was observed (from 0.15 in 1976-84 to 0.47 in 1985-90). Conversely, declines in KS incidence were recorded in older men.