For the first time since 1990, the age-adjusted mortality rates from malignant neoplasms in western Germany are declining in males. A downward trend has been observed in females since the early 1950s. We cannot yet define trends for eastern Germany due to an abrupt rise in mortality rates caused by the structural change in the official cause-of-death statistics after German reunification (see "Data Quality" in the chapter on "Data Material, Methods, and Organization of Sections"). Data from past years suggest, however, that both sexes are experiencing an analogous decline in mortality.
The analysis of mortality data by age range shows that overall cancer mortality in the 35-64 age range shows an almost identical trend in both parts of Germany, and that the sudden upturn in 1990 affects only the 65-and-older age range. The graphs also show that the downtrend in male mortality that began several years ago and the long-term decline in female mortality are equivalent in both age ranges.
Due to the growing life expectancy of the German population, the absolute number of cancer deaths is continuing to rise. Again, however, the most recent figures suggest that there has been at least a slowing of the upward trend. The age-adjusted mortality rates for 1990 were 180.0 (west) and 159.3 (east) in males and 109.4 (west) and 97.0 (east) in females.