Germany has the highest breast cancer death rate



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Breast cancer death rate in Germany is highest in an EU comparison

Germany is at the top in a Europe-wide comparison of the expected death rate for breast cancer in 2012. The likelihood of dying from breast cancer is higher in Germany than in any other EU country.

The research team led by Matteo Malvezzi from the University of Milan has published an extrapolation of the likely cancer deaths in the European Union in 2012 in the journal "Annals of Oncology". According to the researchers, Germany is an unfortunate leader in terms of the breast cancer death rate. Although in recent years improved preventive medical examinations and therapies have also resulted in a significant reduction in the breast cancer death rate.

1.3 million cancer deaths in the EU in 2012 According to the researchers' calculations, 1,283,101 people will die from cancer in the EU this year (717,398 men and 565,703 women). Although it is hardly to be expected that the figures will be reached exactly, the researchers believe that based on the projections, some conclusions can be drawn about the development of cancer deaths in the EU. On the one hand, it is clear that the "standardized total cancer mortality rates" have decreased significantly since 2007, to 139 deaths per 100,000 men and 85 deaths per 100,000 women, report Matteo Malvezzi and colleagues. Compared to 2007, the EU-wide cancer death rate for men decreased by ten percent and for women by seven percent. The most gratifying development in men was minus 20 percent in the area of ​​gastric cancer deaths. The death rate for men has also decreased in leukemia (minus 11 percent), lung and prostate cancer (minus 10 percent) and colon cancer (minus 7 percent). The women also showed the most significant reduction in the death rate in gastric cancer (minus 23 percent), leukemia (minus 12 percent) and uterine and colon cancer (minus 11 percent). But the death rate for breast cancer has also declined by nine percent, according to the researchers. On the other hand, the increase in the lung cancer death rate by seven percent, which can be observed among women, is unpleasant.

Germany with the highest breast cancer death rate The scientists led by Matteo Malvezzi from the University of Milan also calculated the detailed cancer death rates for the six most populous countries in the EU. They determined “the highest breast cancer death rates in Germany,” says study author Matteo Malvezzi. In Germany, "16.5 women out of 100,000 are affected", whereas the average in the EU is only 14.9 out of 100,000, the Italian expert said. In Germany, the breast cancer death rate has decreased by 7.5 percent since 2007, but the EU average was nine percent. Although Germany occupies an unpleasant top position here, the overall development in breast cancer is quite positive. Not only was the death rate of the elderly significantly reduced, but the researchers also recorded a significant reduction in breast cancer deaths among the younger women. "The fact that there is a substantial decrease in breast cancer deaths, not only in middle age, but especially among young women, indicates important advances in treatment," emphasized study co-author Carlo La Vecchia von der University of Milan. The researchers do not see any effect of preventive medical examinations (mammography screening) on ​​the decline in breast cancer death rates among younger women, since in most European countries this only takes effect from the age of 50 to 70 years.

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in women Despite the decrease in breast cancer death rate, breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in women. For men, lung cancer is responsible for most cancer deaths. Overall, however, according to the researchers, the “six main types of cancer in the EU” show a clear “decrease in deaths”, which reflects “the increasing progress in cancer screening, early detection and treatment”. The researchers also attributed positive effects with regard to lung cancer in men to a decrease in tobacco consumption. However, lung cancer deaths among women have increased significantly in recent years.

Current figures on cancer deaths in the EU Together with Swiss colleagues, the scientists at the University of Milan evaluated the data from the World Health Organization (WHO) from 1970 to 2007 on cancer deaths in 27 EU countries. WHO data for the six most populous countries have also been updated with more recent figures. Based on the information available on cancer deaths, the researchers then determined trends for the most common types of cancer and calculated the expected death rates for 2012. These calculations of current figures are "important in order to be able to define priorities for prevention and treatment," the scientists write in the specialist magazine "Annals of Oncology". The data collected on cancer deaths would also show that the EU's 2003 target, which envisages a 15 percent reduction in cancer death rates by 2015, has already been achieved. In comparison to the starting year 2003, the cancer death rate for men had already decreased by 18 percent and for women by 13 percent. While the cancer death rate has decreased significantly in recent years, the number of cancers overall has continued to increase in Germany. Not as many people die of cancer directly as before, but not least because of the demographic change and the associated increasing life expectancy, a further increase in cancer can be expected in the coming years. (fp)

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Image: Rainer Sturm / pixelio.de

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