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Ann Oncol. 2003 Jan;14(1):159-61.

Lung cancer mortality in European regions (1955-1997).

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  • 1Cancer Prevention and Control Unit, Institut Català d'Oncologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.



The different spread of tobacco smoking across European countries has caused a substantial variability in lung cancer mortality. The objective of this investigation was to analyse the trends in lung cancer mortality rates in three broad European regions (Northern and Western countries, Eastern countries, and Mediterranean countries) during the second half of the 20th century.


Mortality data were obtained from the World Health Organisation database. Lung cancer mortality rates were age-standardised by the direct method to the world standard population. Trends from 1955 to 1997 were assessed by means of joinpoint regression analysis.


In men, rates in Eastern Europe increased to reach in the 1990s the highest values ever registered, while downward trends were observed in Northern and Western Europe since 1979, and in Mediterranean countries since the 1990s. In women, upward trends were observed in the three regions considered for the whole period.


Different smoking prevalences over time explain the shift of almost one decade in the trends in Mediterranean men as compared with Northern and other Western European men. The persisting upward trends in women in the three regions are of concern.

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