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Int J Cancer. 2005 Mar 1;113(6):977-90.

Ovarian cancer in Europe: Cross-sectional trends in incidence and mortality in 28 countries, 1953-2000.

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Descriptive Epidemiology Group, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.


We have considered trends in incidence and mortality in 28 European countries using incidence data from successive volumes of Cancer Incidence in Five Continents and mortality from the WHO database. Countries with the highest rates in the early 1960s included the Nordic countries, Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom, but trends in these areas have tended to decline over recent calendar periods, particularly with regard to mortality. Southern European countries showed upward trends, at least until the early 1980s for France and Italy. Likewise, in most central and eastern European countries, ovarian cancer incidence and mortality rates were originally relatively low, but tended to rise over time. Falls in mortality, but not in incidence, over recent years were observed in the Czech Republic and Hungary. In several countries, mainly in northern Europe, trends were more favorable at younger age (25-49 years) than in the subsequent age groups. Thus, recent trends in ovarian cancer have led to a leveling of rates across various areas of the continent, although a 2.5-fold variation was still observed in the late 1990s between the highest mortality rate of 9.3/100,000 in Denmark and the lowest one of 3.6 in Portugal. These patterns should be viewed in the light of an observed reduction in parity, mainly in southern and eastern Europe, and the spread of oral contraceptive use, mainly in northern Europe, since these are the best recognized protective factors with regard to ovarian carcinogenesis. The declining mortality trends can also in part be ascribed to improvements in treatment.

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