Introduction: Pancreas cancer is the fourth commonest cause of cancer-related mortality across the world, with incidence equalling mortality. A recent study has suggested that both the incidence and the mortality of pancreatic cancer are falling in the UK. We investigated whether this trend was being seen all over the world.
Methods: Age-standardized mortality (world) rates [ASR(W)] for pancreatic cancer were extracted separately for males and females from a database maintained by the International Agency for Research on Cancer for 51 countries across the world (Europe, 33 countries; Americas, 8 countries; and Asia, 10 countries) for the period 1992-2002; log-linear regression analysis was performed to analyse trends in the past decade.
Results: In the period 1992-2002, the ASR(W) remained static across most countries for both sexes. The highest mortality rates (for both sexes) were seen in Central Europe [range: men (8-12), women (4.5-7)] with trends towards increasing mortality in Romania (p<0.001), along with Albania, Spain and Croatia (p<0.01). Korea in the Far East, too, demonstrated increasing mortality trends for both sexes (men p<0.001, women p<0.01). Increasing mortality trends were also observed among women in France (p<0.001). In Canada, there was a decline in mortality [men (7.5-6.4), women (5.9-5); p<0.01], while for men there was a downward trend in Ireland, the UK, Switzerland, Austria, and Poland [p<0.05].
Conclusion: The changes perhaps reflect standardization and consolidation of diagnostic tests for pancreatic cancer in the Western world and further in-depth analysis would be required.
Keywords: Age standardized mortality; pancreatic cancer; trends.