Incidence and prevalence of all cancerous diseases in Italy: Trends and implications

I. Frouin, E. Prosperi, M. Denegri, C. Negri, M. Donzelli, L. Rossi, F. Riva, M. Stefanini, A. I. Scovassi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The burden of cancer in ageing populations is causing great concern, particularly in Italy with Europe's fastest growing elderly population. Studying all cancers combined in one group, although of limited medical value, is of great interest from the viewpoints of public health, epidemiology and the economy. Using mortality data and an estimate of cancer patients' survival we have estimated and projected incidence and prevalence in Italy of all cancers combined in one group. Five major phenomena are highlighted in the paper: (1) the decrease in the age-adjusted cancer mortality rates among females and the stable mortality rates among males since 1990; (2) the changing pattern of cancer incidence since 1990, it has started to decrease for females and is stabilising for males; (3) the decrease in cancer incidence among males and females born after 1940; (4) the increase in the proportion of cancer patients that are cured with calendar years of diagnosis; (5) the increase in the total and the healthy life expectancy (i.e. cancer-free) among the Italian population since 1970. The declining and flat trends in age-adjusted cancer incidence and mortality rates since 1990 is the combined effect of survival improvements and cancer risk reduction for younger cohort groups, after 1940. These favourable trends contribute to the increase in healthy life expectation, thus supporting the idea that we live longer and healthier.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1149-1157
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • All cancers
  • Incidence
  • Italy
  • Prevalence
  • Relative survival
  • Time trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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