Mortality rates from pancreatic cancer have increased throughout Europe between the late 1950s and the 1980s. Trends in 22 European countries, the European Union (EU) and 6 selected eastern European countries have been updated using official death certification data for pancreatic cancer abstracted from the WHO database over the period 1980 to 1999. In EU men, a rise from 7.2 to 7.5/100,000 was observed between the early and the late 1980s, followed by a leveling off in the 1990s. For women, rates tended to rise up to the early 1990s, and to level off thereafter around 4.7/100,000, In eastern countries, rates for both sexes rose between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s, and leveled off thereafter around 8.5/100,000 men and 5/100,000 women. Thus, rates for men only were higher in Eastern Europe than in the EU. This analysis first documents a leveling of pancreatic cancer mortality in Europe, after decades of steady rises. This is partly or largely attributable to the decline in smoking, at least in men, but other factors, including mainly nutrition and diet, may also have played some role on these trends.
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