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Cancer death rates falling faster for men across Europe

Death rates from cancer across Europe are falling faster for men than women, a new study has found.

Experts have predicted that during 2017, 131.8 men out of every 100,000 across the European Union will die from cancer - a dip of 8.2% when compared to 2012 figures.

There will be a 3.6% fall in the death rate for women, according to the study published in the journal Annals of Oncology.

But fewer women are dying from the disease, with experts estimating that 84.5 women per 100,000 will die from cancer this year.

A total of 761,900 men and 611,600 women are predicted to die from all cancers in 2017.

Mortality rates for cancers are predicted to decline, except among pancreatic cancer patients in both sexes and lung cancer in women.

It is anticipated that lung cancer will cause around 275,700 deaths this year - about 20% of all cancer deaths.

The report also found that high UK lung cancer death rates among women "appear to be levelling off".

It found that between 2005 and 2009 the lowest lung cancer mortality rates were in Spain and highest in the UK.

But the authors conclude that rates appear to be levelling off among UK women while increasing for women in other countries, particularly in France and Spain, where smoking became common in women in the 1970s.

"Overall, fewer women than men will die from cancer, but the fact that the rate of decline is slower in women than in men essentially reflects the different trends in lung and other tobacco-related cancers between the two sexes," said lead researcher Carlo La Vecchia, professor at the University of Milan.

Meanwhile, 76,100 men and 43,800 women will die from pancreatic cancer in 2017, the authors predicted.

Prof La Vecchia said: "There has been little progr ess in the detection, treatment and prevention of pancreatic cancer and it is now the fourth highest cause of cancer death in both sexes.

"Although tobacco is a major risk factor for pancreatic cancer, it causes only about 15-20% of pancreatic cancers in most populations, and so there must be other contributory factors."

Prof La Vecchia added that the increased prevalence of obesity and diabetes, mostly in northern Europe, "may be affecting the pancreatic cancer death rates unfavourably, and national governments and policy-makers need to do more to tackle this problem".

The study looked at cancer death rates in the EU's 28 member states.

Experts estimate that since 1988 improvements in prevention, detection and treatment of cancers has led to more than four million cancer deaths being avoided.

Prof La Vecchia added: "In 2017 alone, we predict that 253,915 deaths will be avoided in men and 107,780 in women due to the fall in death rates since 1988."

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