Lung, Colon Cancers Major Killers in Europe

Over 1.7 million Europeans died from cancer in 2004, report finds

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THURSDAY, Feb. 17, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Europe recorded nearly 2.9 million new cancer cases in 2004 and more than 1.7 million cancer deaths, says a report that urges major efforts to combat the four biggest killers -- lung, colorectal, breast and stomach cancer.

The report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) warns that an aging population in Europe means new cancer cases and cancer deaths will continue to rise. The report appears in the Feb. 17 issue of the journal Annals of Oncology.

"It is clear that despite a fall in stomach cancer rates and some progress in screening and treatment, cancer remains an important public health problem throughout Europe," report author Peter Boyle, director of the IARC, said in a prepared statement.

Lung cancer was the most common form of cancer (13.2 percent) and the leading cause of cancer death (20 percent). Colorectal cancer was almost as common (13 percent) but was a much less common cause of cancer death (11.9 percent).

Among women, breast cancer was the most common form of cancer (27.4 percent) and was the leading cause of cancer death (17.4 percent). In men, lung cancer was the most common, followed by prostate cancer.

"Lung, colorectal and breast cancer account for two-fifths of the entire European cancer total and lung, colorectal, stomach and breast cancers together are responsible for half of all the cancer deaths," Boyle said. "Our estimates give a good indication of the burden of cancer incidence and death throughout Europe and will help to clarify the priorities for cancer control action."

More information

The National Cancer Institute has statistics about U.S. cancer incidence and death rates.

SOURCE: Annals of Oncology, news release, Feb. 17, 2005

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