The aims of the European Network of Cancer Registries (ENCR) are to improve the quality, comparability and availability of cancer registry data in Europe. This paper on cancer incidence and mortality in France presents the most recent available data, with short-term projections to 1995, and a commentary based, where possible, on epidemiological research carried out in France. Cancer incidence in men in France increased throughout the study period 1975 to 1995, from 92,000 new cases in 1975 to about 135,000 in 1995. This increase was partly due to the ageing of the French population, but incidence rates have also increased, particularly from 1975 to 1985. The trend appears to be levelling off in the 1990s, with an incidence rate in 1995 of about 482 per 100,000 (this and subsequent rates quoted are standardized to the European Standard Population). Among women, the all-cancer incidence rates also increased during the 1970s and 1980s. Although the rate of increase was less pronounced than in men, the trend is continuing in the 1990s. The estimated age standardized rate in 1995 was 309 per 100,000, representing 104,000 new cases. The main components of these changes in the last decade were, for men, increases in large bowel and prostate cancer, which have been partly compensated for by decreases in oral cavity, larynx and stomach cancer. For women the trend was dominated by the continuing increase in breast cancer with increases also in large bowel and lung cancers. Of the numerically important cancers in women, only stomach cancer has shown a clear decline. The situation in 1995 was that breast cancer remained the predominant cancer affecting women in France, accounting for almost one third of all new cases of cancer diagnosed and one fifth of cancer deaths. The next most frequent cancers in women were those of the large bowel. Regrettably, incidence rates of both breast and bowel cancer are increasing in women. For men in France the most frequent cancers in 1995 were those of the prostate, large bowel and lung, all of which increased in incidence since 1975. Although it is estimated that there will be more newly diagnosed cases of prostate cancer than lung cancer in 1995, the latter will cause many more deaths, particularly of young men.