BACKGROUND. Mortality from prostate cancer (CaP) has increased throughout Europe until the early 1990s. Trends in 24 European countries, the European Union (EU), six selected Central and Eastern European countries, and the Russian Federation have been updated to 1999. METHODS. Cancer death certification data for CaP were abstracted from the World Health Organization database. RESULTS. In the EU, the peak rate (15.7/100,000) was reached in 1993, followed by a leveling off and a decline to 14.1/100,000 in 1999. Age-standardized analysis for each subsequent age group of men aged 50 or over showed larger absolute falls in the elderly. CaP rates were lower in Central and Eastern European countries providing data, but showed a rise from 9.7/100,000 in 1980 to 11.3 in 1996, and leveled off thereafter. Rates were originally lower, but the rises larger in the Russian Federation (from 5.1/100,000 in 1980 to 8.1/100,000 in 1999). In the late 1990s, there was a threefold difference between the highest rates of 22/100,000 in Norway and those of 7.7 in Russia or 7.3 in Ukraine. Such a difference was, however, restricted to the elderly, since at age 35-64 the Russian rate (6.7/100,000) was the same as that of Norway, and only Greece and Italy had appreciably lower rates. CONCLUSION. The pattern of trends in CaP rates observed across Europe is consistent with a favorable role of improved diagnosis, but mainly of advancements of therapy (including more widespread adoption of radical prostatectomy and androgen blockage) on CaP mortality in Western Europe.
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