24 February 2021

Major new study provides little grounds for celebration, says Europa Uomo

A new analysis of cancer death rates in Europe shows they have dropped by 7% in men and 5% in women in the six years since 2015, but that some cancers – including prostate cancer – are lagging behind others in their rate of decline.

The study, published in the leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology, covers 27 EU Member States plus the UK, based on World Health Organization and Eurostat databases. It predicts that 67,100 men will die of prostate cancer in 2021, compared with 63,171 in 2015, so the absolute number of deaths continues to rise. When converted into an age standardised death rate, the rate is falling –  by 8.7% for prostate cancer.

Although this decrease is greater than colorectal and pancreatic cancers, it lags behind the death rate fall in stomach, lung, bladder and blood cancers in men.

André Deschamps, Chairman of Europa Uomo, points out that despite the falling death rate, the study indicates an absolute rise in prostate cancer deaths of 6.2% in Europe and 2.3% in the UK between 2015 and 2021.

“This is a concerning rise, and I suspect it is due to an increase in late diagnosis,” he says. “In UK there is more of a focus on early diagnosis than there is on average across the EU.”

“In the light of this new analysis, it’s important to remember that prostate cancer deaths are still on the rise compared to other cancers and the need for early detection is urgent.”