Cancer prevalence in Italy: An analysis of geographic variability

Stefano Guzzinati, Carlotta Buzzoni, Roberta De Angelis, Stefano Rosso, Giovanna Tagliabue, Marina Vercelli, Fabio Pannozzo, Lucia Mangone, Silvano Piffer, Mario Fusco, Adriano Giacomin, Adele Traina, Riccardo Capocaccia, Luigino Dal Maso, Emanuele Crocetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose Statistics on cancer prevalence are scanty. The objectives of this study were to describe the cancer prevalence in Italy and to explore determinants of geographic heterogeneity. Methods The study included data from 23 populationbased cancer registries, including one-third of the Italian population. Five-year cancer prevalence was observed, and complete prevalence (i.e., all patients living after a cancer diagnosis) was estimated through sex-, age-, cancer site-, and observation period length-specific completeness indices by means of regression models. Results In 2006, 3.8 % of men and 4.6 % of women in Italy were alive after a cancer diagnosis, with a 5-year prevalence of 1.9 % and 1.7 % in men and women, respectively. A relevant geographic variability emerged for all major cancer sites. When compared to national pooled estimates, crude cancer prevalence proportions were 10 % higher in the north and 30 % lower in the south of Italy. However, these variations were consistently reduced after age adjustment and, in both sexes, largely overlapped those of incidence rates, with correlations[0.90 between variations of prevalence and incidence for all cancer sites and areas. Conclusions Magnitude of the cancer prevalence and the geographic heterogeneity herein outlined in Italy will help in meeting the needs of specific population of survivor patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1497-1510
Number of pages14
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


  • Cancer
  • Geographic patterns
  • Incidence
  • Italy
  • Prevalence
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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