Background: To update the pattern of cancer mortality in Europe. Materials and methods: We analysed cancer mortality in 34 European countries during 2000-2004, with an overview of trends in 1975-2004 using data from the World Health Organization. Results: From 1990-1994 to 2000-2004, overall cancer mortality in the European Union declined from 185.2 to 168.0/100 000 (world standard, -9%) in men and from 104.8 to 96.9 (28%) in women, with larger falls in middle age. Total cancer mortality trends were favourable, though to a variable degree, in all major European countries, including Russia, but not in Romania. The major determinants of these favourable trends were the decline of lung (-16%) and other tobacco-related cancers in men, together with the persistent falls in gastric cancer, and the recent appreciable falls in colorectal cancer. In women, relevant contributions came from the persistent decline in cervical cancer and the recent falls in breast cancer mortality, particularly in northern and western Europe. Favourable trends were also observed for testicular cancer, Hodgkin lymphomas, leukaemias, and other neoplasms amenable to treatment, though the reductions were still appreciably smaller in eastern Europe. Conclusion: This updated analysis of cancer mortality in Europe showed a persistent favourable trend over the last years.
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