According to a new study, men and women in Europe are becoming more prone to terminal pancreatic cancer. Health officials urged for immediate action to combat and treat the illness.
Researchers found that while the deaths associated to almost all types of cancer is expected to lessen in Europe in 2014, pancreatic cancer remains to increase death rates for men and women as does lung cancer in women. They predict that around 1.32 million deaths will be caused by eight of the most common types of cancer in 2014. While terminal colorectal and breast cancers will decrease as a cause of death in women, lung cancer deaths are estimated to increase by 8 percent.
The increase in lung cancer deaths in women is linked to the "Mad Men effect," which is the aggressive marketing of cigarettes, posed as a product with slimming effects in women in the early 1960s. Women who picked up the habit of smoking at the time may be suffering from its effects only now.
The study analyzed cancer rates in the entire Europe, a continent that consists of 27 states, and pancreatic cancer is expected to claim 82,300 lives in 2014. This type of cancer kills the most people among all other types of the disease. The Annals of Oncology research estimates that cancer will kill 742,500 men and 581,100 women in the whole of Europe in 2014.
"Our predictions for 2014 confirm that pancreatic death rates are continuing to increase overall," study author Dr. Carlo La Vecchia said. However, since the peak rates of cancer in 1988, there is a decrease of 26 percent in deaths caused by cancer in men and a 20 percent decrease in women in Europe. There is still an estimate of more than 250,000 cancer deaths avoided in 2014.
Lung, prostate and colorectal cancer death rates in men have decreased by 8 percent, 10 percent and 4 percent respectively while colorectal and breast cancer death rates in women will decrease by 7 percent and 9 percent respectively. The decrease is largely because of early diagnosis, adenomas removed by colonoscopy and improved treatment and management.
"These results are extremely important in showing that reducing cancer mortality can be achieved. Priority should be given to research in cancers with unfavorable trends, such as pancreatic cancer, and in reducing cancer mortality disparities, both between countries (Central/Eastern versus Western Europe), and within countries, for example, between socio-economic groups," Professor Paolo Boffetta said. Boffetta is an associate editor at the Annals of Oncology epidemiology division and an Institute of Translational Epidemiology director at the Icahn School of Medicine, New York.