Aim: Monitoring cancer incidence and time trends is essential for cancer research and health care planning. The aim of the study was to compare the incidence of gastrointestinal cancers in twelve administrative area in France to estimate the national cancer incidence during 2000 compared with the preceding 20 years.
Methods: Incidence data was provided by cancer registries and mortality data by the French national medical research institute (INSERM). The two data sets were modeled separately over the period 1988-1997 using age-cohort models. The incidence/mortality ratio obtained from these models was applied to the mortality rates of an age-cohort model of the entire population.
Results: The estimated number of new cases of gastrointestinal cancer was 61,465 in 2000. Colorectal cancer was the leading localization with 36,257 cases. The incidence of gastrointestinal cancers was slightly higher in northern than in southern area. Incidence of esophageal cancer was three times that of liver cancer. Variations in incidence were less marked for other localizations. The incidence of gastric and esophageal cancer in the male population decreased between 1980 and 2000, on average by slightly more than 2% per year. Incidence of other cancers increased. The number of new cases of colorectal cancer increased by 50%. The rise in the incidence of liver cancer was particularly striking, with an increase from 2000 incident cases in 1980 to nearly 6000 in 2000.
Conclusion: For most localizations, incidence of gastrointestinal cancers displays few geographical differences in France, but there has been a striking change in incidence trends over the past 20 years.