Projects of the Unit of Fundamentals of Cancer Prevention

Trends of incidence of and mortality from cancer in Germany

The project provides a statistical analysis of current and past trends of cancer mortality rates in Germany in terms of annual percent change, overall and for major sites, and contrasts them with trends in incidence of the Cancer Registry of the Saarland, the only registry in this country with long-term completeness.

It shows a downward trend of mortality rates for all cancers combined based on declining rates for many individual sites with only few exceptions affecting mainly females (e.g. lung cancer). Recently, the long-term increase of cancer incidence also flattened out with rather heterogeneous underlying site-specific trends increasing for some sites (e.g. cancers of the intestine, breast, prostate, or some lymphoma) and decreasing for others (e.g. cancers of the stomach, gall bladder in females, larynx, and lung in males).

Depending on cancer site, primary prevention (e.g. lung cancer among males), early detection (cervical cancer), and treatment (e.g. breast and testicular cancer, lymphoma) contributed to the current decline of mortality rates. Absence of a turnaround (e.g. lung cancer among females), slower decline than in other countries (e.g. cervical cancer), or later turnaround (e.g. breast cancer) may be related to failures in promoting prevention (lung cancer among females), early detection programmes (cervical cancer), or delays in the translation of modern treatment into routine health care (breast cancer) and indicate major challenges for current and future policy.


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