Mortality rates from pancreatic cancer are known to have increased throughout Europe between the 1950s and the 1980s
Dr Fabio Levi and his colleagues from the universities of Milan and Lausanne have updated the existing information on mortality rates from pancreatic cancer to cover the period from 1980 to 1999.
Dr Leviís group used official death certification data from the World Health Organisation database to examine the recent trends in pancreatic cancer mortality in 22 European countries.
The group compared the mortality rates in the 16 European Union countries with mortality rates in 6 eastern European countries.
| Mortality rates from pancreatic cancer leveled off in the 1990s.|
In European Union men mortality rates rose from 7.2 deaths per 100,000 individuals to 7.5 per 100,000 individuals between the early and the late 1980s. The mortality rate leveled off in the 1990s.
For women in the European Union mortality rates also rose in the 1980s before leveling off at 4.7 per 100,000 individuals in the 1990s.
Death rates for both men and women in eastern European countries experienced a similar trend, rising in the 1980s before stabilizing in the 1990s.
Men in eastern Europe had higher mortality rates than those in the European Union, but mortality in females was no different between the 2 areas.
The authors suggest that the stabilization of pancreatic mortality rates in the 1990s may be due to a decline in smoking and an improvement in diet.