Chapter 1 – Epidemiology, pathogenesis and risk factors

European scenario

European scenario 1

Malvezzi M, et al. Ann Oncol 2016;27:725-731

European predictions for the year 2018 in men and women, estimated 267 000 and 121 000 lung cancer- related deaths, respectively, corresponding to about 20% of total cancer deaths in both sexes combined.

Lung cancer is the primary cause of cancer-related deaths in men in Europe and is second only to breast cancer in women, with a very slight difference in the number of expected deaths.

European mortality for lung cancer peaked in the late 1980s in men and began declining later, while in women, in contrast to the USA scenario, mortality continues to increase with 26.4 cases/100 000 in 2018. An opposite trend has been observed in breast cancer.

An evaluation performed in 2018 revealed that the lung cancer incidence rate for men was highest in Central and Eastern European countries and lowest in Northern Europe.

European scenario 2

Ferlay J, et al. Eur J Cancer 2018;103:356-387

On the contrary, with the exception of Hungary, the incidence rate for women was highest in Northern European countries and lowest in Eastern Europe.

Considering both sexes combined, the highest incidence rates were seen in Hungary (incidence rate 111.6 cases/ 100 000 for men and 58.7 cases/100 000 for women).

Lung cancer rates in underdeveloped countries are lower than in developed ones, although incidence and mortality are slowly increasing.

The World Health Organization estimates that lung cancer deaths worldwide will continue to rise, largely as a result of an increase in global tobacco consumption (over one billion smokers worldwide).

European scenario 3

Dela Cruz CS, et al. Clin Chest Med 2011;32:605-644

Worldwide, every year, as many people die from lung cancer as the cumulative number resulting from prostate, breast and colon cancers.

Revision Questions

  1. Are there differences in the lung cancer mortality rates between the USA and Europe?
  2. Is lung cancer incidence homogeneous throughout Europe?
  3. What is the mortality rate due to lung cancer compared with other ‘big killers’?

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Last update: 12 June 2019