Objectives: To examine incidence, mortality and survival trends in England and Wales for testicular cancer, using the recently developed national cancer and national mortality databases.
Methods: The directly age-standardized incidence rates for testicular cancer in England and Wales were calculated for the period 1971-97 and age-standardized mortality for years 1971-99. Trends in the data were then assessed, including the influence of social deprivation on testicular cancer incidence and survival.
Results: The number of newly diagnosed cases of testicular carcinoma in 1971-97 in England and Wales increased from almost 650 to 1400. The age-standardized rates were 2.9 per 100000 cases in 1971 and 5.4 per 100000 in 1997, an increase of 88% over 26 years. There was a large decrease in mortality since the mid-1970s, with an age-standardized mortality of < 0.5 per 100000 since 1985. For men with testicular carcinoma diagnosed in 1991-93, the 1-year relative survival was almost 98% and 5-year relative survival almost 95%, compared with 82% and 69%, respectively, for men diagnosed during 1971-75. There is a 'deprivation gap' for the 5-year survival of > 6% in favour of the most affluent socio-economic group, with no significant change over recent years.
Conclusions: The incidence of testicular cancer is increasing in England and Wales, consistent with the trend documented in other developed countries. The reduction in mortality has been marked since the mid-1970s, reflecting improved cancer management, in particular the introduction of platinum-based chemotherapy regimens for advanced disease. Survival rates in England and Wales are as good as in other European countries. Further developments in chemotherapy are unlikely to produce such a marked improvement in survival rates again, and minimizing the effect of social status on survival rates should be an important target of future care.