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 European Childhood Leukaemia-Lymphoma Incidence Study (ECLIS) is to investigate trends in incidence rates of childhood leukaemia and lymphoma in Europe, in relation to the exposure to radiation which resulted from the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in April 1986. In this first report, the incidence of leukaemia in children aged 0-14 is presented from cancer registries in 20 European countries for the period 1980-1988. Risk of leukaemia in 1987-1988 (8-32 months post-accident) relative to that before 1986, is compared with estimated average dose of radiation received by the population in 30 geographic areas. The observed changes in incidence do not relate to exposure. The period of follow-up is so far rather brief, and the study is planned to continue for at least 10 years.
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.