Adult mortality from leading sites of cancer in Italy and a note on European data

A. Decarli, C. La Vecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An overview is given of recent patterns of trends in cancer mortality in variousage groups in Italy and, for comparative purposes, in other European countries. Importantchanges in mortality for several major cancer sites have been observed over the last two decades, such as the declines in gastric cancer or the increases in lung cancer mortality. These are difficult to understand and justify from an epidemiological and public healthviewpoint, since the main cause of lung cancer (cigarette smoking) has long been known, while the determinants of stomach cancer are still largely undefined. Changes were minor, and inconsistent across countries, for other major cancers, such as intestines or breast.Furthermore, trends were systematically more favourable in young adults (and, to a less extent middle age), as compared to the elderly. The decline in young adults reflects more favourable exposure to risk factors (eg declined smoking prevalence, better diet), but also improvements in diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for some cancers. Due caution isrequired in any extrapolation, particularly since the distribution of the most common types of cancer changes in subsequent age groups. These favourable trends in young adults offer, none the less, important (and positive) indications as to the likely future trends when the same generations will reach middle and older age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-137
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Prevention
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • Diet
  • Epidemiology
  • Mortality
  • Neoplasms
  • Smoking
  • Trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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