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Int J Cancer. 2005 Oct 20;117(1):123-31.

Geographic and temporal variations in cancer of the corpus uteri: incidence and mortality in pre- and postmenopausal women in Europe.

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Non-communicable Disease Epidemiology Group, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.


Corpus uteri cancer is the fourth most common neoplasm in women in Europe and the tenth most common cause of cancer death. We examined geographic and temporal variations in corpus uteri cancer incidence and mortality rates in the age groups 25-49 and 50-74 in 22 European countries. The disease is considerably less common in premenopausal women, with incidence and mortality rates decreasing throughout Europe and mortality declines more marked in western and southern European countries. Incidence rates among postmenopausal women are highest in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden and Slovenia and lowest in France and the United Kingdom. Increasing incidence trends in this age group are observed in the Nordic countries (except Denmark) and in the United Kingdom. Some increases are also seen in eastern (Slovakia) and southern Europe (Spain and Slovenia), while relatively stable or modestly decreasing trends are observed in Italy and most western European countries. Postmenopausal mortality rates are systematically higher in eastern Europe, with death rates in the Ukraine, Latvia, Czech Republic, Russia and Belarus 2-3 times those seen in western Europe. Declining mortality trends are seen in most populations, though in certain Eastern European countries, the declines began rather recently, during the 1980s. In Belarus and Russia, recent postmenopausal death rates are stable or increasing. The rates are adjusted for misclassification of uterine cancer deaths but remain unadjusted for hysterectomy, and where there is an apparent levelling off of incidence or mortality rates recently, rising prevalence of hysterectomy cannot be discounted as an explanation. However, the trends by age group can be viewed in light of several established risk factors for endometrial cancer that are highly prevalent and most likely changing with time. These are discussed, as are the prospects for preventing the disease.

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