New study shows mortality rates for all major cancers decreasing globally, except liver cancer in men and lung cancer in women

June 12, 2023
New study by ACS.

A new study conducted by scientists at the American Cancer Society (ACS) and Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center reveals recent mortality rates for all major cancers decreased in most of the studied countries except lung cancer in females and liver cancer in males, where increasing rates were observed in most countries.

The research also showed that cancer-specific mortality rates varied substantially across countries, with rates of lung and cervical cancer varying by 10-fold. The study was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

The study focused on analyzing mortality rates for the eight leading types of cancer-related deaths, namely, cancers of the female breast, lung, colon and rectum, prostate, stomach, liver, cervix, and esophagus, in 47 countries spanning diverse regions of the world. By examining high-quality World Health Organization mortality data and utilizing age-standardized rates, the researchers were able to unravel the distinct trends and patterns associated with each type of cancer.

Highlights from the study results include:

  • Lung cancer mortality rates increased in females in 24 countries by 0.3%-4.3% annually with the most rapid increase seen in Spain (4.3% per year), Uruguay (3.7% per year), and Greece (3.2% per year). Of the 24 countries for which mortality rates increased among females, 22 were in Europe.
  • Liver cancer mortality rates also increased in females in 15 countries by 0.9%-4.5% annually with the most rapid increases in the UK (4.5% per year), Norway (3.4% per year), Denmark (3.1%), and Australia (3.1% per year).
  • Liver cancer mortality rates in males increased in 23 of 47 countries, including many in Europe, North America, and Oceania, by 0.8%-5.8% annually with the most rapid increases in Ireland (5.8% per year), Norway (5.3% per year), and Malta (4.8% per year).
  • The increase in death rates from liver cancer is thought to largely reflect the high prevalence of Hepatitis C infection (USA) and nonviral etiology, such as obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease as well as heavy alcohol consumption.
  • Cervical cancer mortality rates decreased in 28 of 47 countries by 0.4%-5.2% per year with the most rapid decreases in Singapore (5.2% per year), Switzerland (4.7% per year), and the Republic of Korea (4.4% per year). Rates, nonetheless, increased by 0.5%-2.5% annually in six countries across different regions of the world (Kyrgyzstan, Japan, Greece, Italy, Argentina, and Latvia).

ACS release