Differences in cancer mortality trends between four neighboring north-eastern areas and Italy, 1970-1990

E. Bidoli, S. Franceschi, L. Simonato, S. Piffer, S. Tognazzo, P. Vian, S. Prati, S. Fascioli, M. Cristofolini, P. Zambon, M. P. Giorio, S. Rodella, R. Talamini, F. Barbone, G. Stanta, M. Cuttini, M. Bovenzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims and background: The present report combines descriptive statistics (partly never published) on four neighboring areas of north-eastern (NE) Italy [Friuli-Venezia Giulia (1970-89) and Veneto (1970-87) regions and the provinces of Trento (1970-89) and Bolzano (1971 -90)], and all Italy (1970-89). The aim was to highlight potential difterences in mortality trends and promote a more systematic sharing of data and methodologies. Methods: Death certificates stratified by cause, sex, age and residence were obtained from official publications of the Italian Central Institute of Statistics. Absolute numbers of deaths from different causes, age-standardized rates (on the basis of the European standard population) and percentage of change over the examined period for both sexes were computed for each geographic area. Results: Unfavorable trends were seen for neoplasms of the upper aerodigestive tract, lung, breast, colorectum, bladder, kidney and pancreas and cutaneous malignant melanoma. Increases in most of these neoplasms were more marked in the 4 NE areas than in Italy, especially with respect to cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract in both sexes and cancer of the lung and ovary in women. In Bolzano, rates of neoplasms associated with tobacco and alcohol consumption were lower and less steeply increasing than in the other NE areas, most notably Trento, therefore, contributing to produce the lowest overall cancer mortality rates of NE areas. Cancers of the stomach, uterus, and testis and Hodgkin's disease presented consistent downward trends in all examined areas. Conclusions: The analysis of mortality trends across areas is consistent with elevated and still increasing cancer rates in the 4 NE areas considered, especially for tobacco and alcohol-related neoplasms and skin melanoma. Preventive strategies, based on epidemiologic knowledge, especially against tobacco and heavy alcohol consumption, and intense intermittent sun exposure, seem to be priorities and may benefit from systematic sharing of information, expertise and intervention tools in NE Italy. At least part of the lack of cancer deaths in Bolzano must be attributable to the deaths of Bolzano residents abroad (especially in Austria) and/or to differences in coding practices. This should be elucidated in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-404
Number of pages6
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • cancer mortality
  • north-east Italy
  • time trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

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