Effects of age, birth cohort and period of death on Swiss cancer mortality, 1951-1984

F. Levi, C. La Vecchia, A. Decarli, A. Randriamiharisoa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Swiss death certification data over the period 1951-1984 for tocal cancer mortality and 30 major cancer sites in the population aged 25 to 74 years were analysed using a log-linear Poisson model with arbitrary constraints on the parameters to isolate the effects of birth cohort, calender period of death and age. The overall pattern of total cancer mortality in males was stable for period values and showed some moderate decreases in cohort values restricted to the generations born after 1930. Cancer mortality trends were more favourable in females, with steady, though moderate, declines in both cohort and period values. According to the estimates from the model, the worst affected generation for male lung cancer was that born around 1910, and a flattening of trends or some moderate decline was observed for more recent cohorts, although this decline was considerably more limited than in other European countries. There were decreases in cohort and period values for stomach, intestine and oesophageal cancer in both sexes and (cervix) uteri in females. Increases were observed in both cohort and period trends for pancreas and liver in males and for several other neoplasms, including prostate, brain, leukaemias and lymphomas, restricted, however, for the latter sites, to the earlier cohorts and hence partly attributable to improved diagnosis and certification in the elderly. Although age values for lung cancer in females were around 10-times lower than in males, upward trends in female lung cancer cohort values were observed in subsequent cohorts and for period values from the late 1960's onwards. Therefore, future trends in female lung cancer mortality should continue to be monitored. The application of these age/period/cohort models thus provides a summary guide for the reading and interpretation of cancer mortality trends, although it cannot replace careful inspection of single age-specific rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-449
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of age, birth cohort and period of death on Swiss cancer mortality, 1951-1984'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this