Malignant melanoma in Europe: changes in mortality rates (1970-90) in European Community countries

Cancer Causes Control. 1997 Jan;8(1):85-92. doi: 10.1023/a:1018491323442.


Reducing mortality, especially premature death, is a major goal of the fight against cancer. In this study, we have analyzed trends in malignant melanoma (MM) mortality in the European Community (EC) as a whole and for each country. The data (obtained from the World Health Organization data bank) have been analyzed for the period 1970-90, by age groups (20-44, 45-64, 65-74, 75+ years). Trends are presented as percentage change of mortality rate for each three-year period in comparison with the rate in the first one (1970-72). The mortality from MM in the EC as a whole increased for both genders (men, +89.2 percent; women, +72.6 percent), with statistically significant trends in all age classes. Northern countries experienced mortality changes about 30 to 50 percent less than the EC average increase. Greater changes were seen in southern European countries, in which recent standardized rates are near to those observed in northern European populations. Among Mediterranean people, the highest increase (more than fourfold) was observed in Spain. The significant increase found for the younger age class makes unlikely the risk of misclassification with other skin cancers. No future decrease in MM mortality in the EC is indicated from these data.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / mortality*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends
  • Skin Neoplasms / mortality*