Death rates from prostate cancer predicted to decline overall in EU but rise in Poland


Death rates from prostate cancer are predicted to fall in 2020 in the EU, largely due to better diagnosis and treatment, according to new research published in the leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology today.

In the latest predictions for cancer deaths in the EU for 2020, researchers led by Carlo La Vecchia (MD), Professor at the School of Medicine, University of Milan (Italy), show that since 2015 there has been a 7% reduction in deaths from prostate cancer, with a predicted age standardised rate for 2020 of 10 men per 100,000 of the population. A total of 78,800 men are predicted to die from the disease this year.

Poland is the only EU country where death rates from prostate cancer are not falling; instead the researchers predict a rise of 18% since 2015: an age standardised death rate of 15 per 100,000 men, with 6,100 men predicted die from it by the end of 2020.

Prof La Vecchia said: “Poland started with the lowest death rate from prostate cancer between 1970 to 1974, but then rates increased up to the year 2000, stabilised for a while and then rose again up to 2020. So Polish prostate cancer death rates are now the highest predicted. This is difficult to explain. It is possible that the recent relatively high rates are due to delayed adoption of modern diagnosis and treatment.

“Across the EU as a whole, the key message from these prostate cancer death rates is to adopt up-to-date surgery and radiotherapy techniques, together with newer androgen deprivation therapy. This may have a relevant impact on prostate cancer mortality even in the absence of cure, since a proportion of elderly men may survive long enough to die from other causes. The prostate specific antigen test, PSA, may also play a role, but it is difficult to quantify this at present. It has major impact on incidence, but an unquantified impact on death rates.”

Although prostate cancer death rates are declining, the actual numbers of men dying from the disease are predicted to increase due to the EU’s aging populations. In 2015 74,998 died from the disease, compared to 78,800 predicted to die in 2020.