New data confirms worries about European variations

A new analysis of global data on prostate cancer by the American Cancer Society indicates that incidence and mortality rates have stabilised or declined in most countries over the past five years.

But some European countries, such as Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Bulgaria, are not following the trend and are still showing high incidence and mortality. Overall, in 2012, prostate cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men in 96 countries and was the leading cause of death in 51 countries.

John Dowling, Europa Uomo Secretary, said the research was important and addressed the fact that international comparisons of prostate incidence were difficult because of variations in recording, detection practices, availability of treatment and genetic factors from country to country.

“However, it reinforces our worries about services and support for men with prostate cancer in many countries, and confirms the impact of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening on reducing national prostate cancer mortality rates,” he said. In January, Europa Uomo announced it was supporting PSA-based screening programmes throughout Europe, in line with a new policy from the European Association of Urology.

The research, presented to the American Association for Cancer Research this month, examined prostate cancer incidence and mortality patterns across five continents using the most recent data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Health Organization. Researchers separated out those countries providing high quality and low quality data so that comparisons could be made more accurately.

Among 44 countries with high quality incidence data, prostate cancer incidence increased in four countries over a five year period – with Bulgaria showing the largest increase. The highest incidence rates during the most recent five years were found in Brazil, Lithuania and Australia. The lowest incidence rates were found in Asia.

The highest mortality rates were found in the Caribbean, sub-Sahara Africa and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. The lowest rates were found in Asia.

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