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| IMC Wiki | Cancer epidemiology

Cancer epidemiology

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Cancer epidemiology studies the frequency of occurrence and course of malignant tumours. After cardiovascular diseases, cancer is the second most frequent cause of disease-related mortality in industrialised countries of Western Europe and the US.
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Incidence and mortality

Cancer incidence is defined as the number of new cases of cancer in a defined population in a given time span. It is calculated as a rate, e.g. in 100,000 persons in one year.

The estimated number of new cases of cancer every year in Germany is about 200,000 in men and 195,000 in women.
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Cancer mortality is defined as the number of cancer-related deaths in a defined population in a given time span. It is calculated as a rate, e.g. in 100,000 persons in one year.
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The incidence of and mortality from cancer show a continuous increase worldwide. This is mainly due to the progressive aging of the population, reduced death rates from other severe diseases and better diagnostic tools. In the year 2000, according to WHO statistics, approx. 10 million new cancer cases were diagnosed and about 6 million people died of cancer worldwide. This indicates a 22% increase in incidence and mortality compared to that of 1990.

Estimated and projected numbers of new cancer cases worldwide

Region Year
  2000 2010 2022 2050
World 10.06 12.34 15.35 23.83
More developed regions 4.68 5.31 6.03 6.79
Less developed regions    5.38 7.03 9.32 17.04
Africa 0.3 0.79 1.04 2.53
Asia (Japan) 0.52 0.61 0.67 0.65
Asia (other) 3.94 5.17 6.75 10.74
Europe 2.77 3.06 3.36 3.64
South America 0.83 1.10 1.48 2.88
North America 1.38 1.65 2.03 2.61
Oceania 0.11 0.13 0.16 0.24

Note: the number of new cancer cases (million) refers to all types of cancer (acc. to the "WHO report 2000").

Mean age of onset of the disease

The mean age of onset describes the age-related frequency of the disease. The mean age of onset of cancer in Germany is approx. 66 years in men and approx. 67 years in women.

Relative survival rate

Relative survival rates are computed to estimate the prognosis of patients with cancer. 5-year survival rates are usually used in scientific publications. Since the 1970s, there has been an overall improvement in the survival rate of cancer patients in Germany.

Relative 5-year survival rates for cancer:
  • Very favourable (between 75% and more than 90%) for carcinomas of the lip, malignant melanoma of skin and cancer of the testis
  • Very poor (less than 10%) for cancers of the oesophagus, pancreas and the lungs in men.


sources

  • Arbeitsgemeinschaft Bevölkerungsbezogener Krebsregister in Deutschland (Hrsg.) (2004)   Krebs in Deutschland - Häufigkeiten und Trends   Saarbrücken
  • Kumar V, Cotran RS, Robbins SL (1993)   Grundlagen der Allgemeinen Pathologie   Gustav Fischer Verlag Stuttgart-Jena-New York 1993
  • Parkin DM et al (2001)   Cancer Burden in the year 2000   Eur J Cancer 2001