Up-to-date cancer burden indicators provide an important source of information for supporting political decision making, as well as for epidemiological research and the general public. Nevertheless, observed cancer incidence and mortality suffer from an inherent registration delay in the data production workflow. To overcome this, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in collaboration with the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer have computed estimates of cancer incidence and mortality, for the year 2020 and for European countries, in the framework of the European Cancer Information System (ECIS).
Predicted values for the year 2020 are based on the incidence data of more than 150 European population-based cancer registries included in ECIS, and on mortality data provided by WHO. Ad-hoc statistical models were developed on the basis of the most recent time trends of observed data to estimate cancer incidence and mortality rates in each EU country for the year 2020. Estimated rates were then applied to the projected population figures for 2020 from EUROSTAT in order to calculate the predicted number of new cases and deaths for 2020 in 40 European countries.
The number of new cancer cases and deaths in 2020 has been estimated per country by sex and age group, for 25 major cancer sites. The results are included and disseminated through the European Cancer Information System (ECIS) web application.
The release of up-to-date cancer incidence and mortality estimates is of great importance to support EU evidence-based cancer policies. The homogeneity of the estimation methods applied throughout Europe guarantees the comparability of the estimated values between countries. Reliable and comparable estimates highlight differences between countries in cancer incidence and mortality, thus facilitating the identification of possible intervention areas. The applied methodology couldn’t take into account the possible impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the projected rates. A future exercise to evaluate the discrepancy between projected and observed rates will allow quantification of this impact.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.