Colorectal cancer mortality has been declining over the last two decades in Europe, particularly in women, the trends being, however, different across countries and age groups. We updated to 2007 colorectal cancer mortality trends in Europe using data from the World Health Organization (WHO). Rates were analyzed for the overall population and separately in young, middle-age and elderly populations. In the European Union (EU), between 1997 and 2007 mortality from colorectal cancer declined by around 2% per year, from 19.7 to 17.4/100,000 men (world standardized rates) and from 12.5 to 10.5/100,000 women. Persisting favorable trends were observed in countries of western and northern Europe, while there were more recent declines in several countries of eastern Europe, including the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia particularly in women (but not Romania and the Russian Federation). In 2007, a substantial excess in colorectal cancer mortality was still observed in Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia in men (rates over 25/100,000), and in Hungary, Norway, Denmark and Slovakia in women (rates over 14/100,000). Colorectal mortality trends were more favorable in the young (30-49 years) from most European countries, with a decline of ∼2% per year since the early 1990s in both men and women from the EU. The recent decreases in colorectal mortality rates in several European countries are likely due to improvements in (early) diagnosis and treatment, with a consequent higher survival from the disease. Interventions to further reduce colorectal cancer burden are, however, still warranted, particularly in eastern European countries.
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