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APMIS. 1998 Jan;106(1):225-9; discussion 229-31.

Increasing incidence of testicular cancer--birth cohort effects.

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Department of Cancer Epidemiology, Uppsala University, Sweden.


The incidence of testicular cancer is rising in most Western populations. A collaborative study between nine population-based cancer registries in countries around the Baltic Sea was utilized in order to analyze in detail geographic variations and temporal trends in the occurrence of testicular cancer. There were 34,309 cases registered up until 1989 starting in Denmark in 1942 and most recently in Latvia in 1977. From the descriptive epidemiology it was obvious that there was a substantial variation in the age-standardized incidence amounting to about a 10-fold difference between the different countries ranging from 0.8 per 100,000 person-years in Lithuania to 7.6 per 100,000 person-years in Denmark. Previous studies have indicated that this increase is due to birth cohort effects. A more detailed analysis was therefore performed in those six countries with a sufficiently long period of cancer registration; Poland, former East Germany, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden. This analysis showed that birth cohort is a more important determinant of testicular cancer risk than year of diagnosis. In Poland, former East Germany and Finland, there was an increasing risk for all birth cohorts. Among men born in Denmark, Norway or Sweden between 1930 and 1945, this increasing trend in risk was interrupted in these birth cohorts but followed thereafter by an uninterrupted increase by birth cohort. In conclusion, life time exposure to environmental factors which are associated with the incidence of testicular cancer appear to be more related to birth cohort than to year of diagnosis. Because testicular cancer typically occurs at an early age, major etiological factors therefore need to operate early in life, perhaps even in utero.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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