French men have the highest mortality rate from cancer in Europe. This was one of the findings in a study published by the French Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) revealing that, between 1980 and 2000, the number of new cases of cancer in France increased by 63%.
According to the INSERM, the annual number of new cases increased from 170,000 to 278,000. The increase was higher in men (97,000 to 161,000 or 66%) than in women (73,000 to 117,000 or 60%).
Male mortality rates from cancer are 50% higher than in Sweden and 20% higher than in the UK. The lowest death rate can be found in Sweden, Finland and Greece. Alcohol and tobacco consumption largely contribute to the male over-mortality with high incidence of lung, digestives system and liver cancer, says the report.
As noted in the study; in the early 2000, cancer was the first cause of death among men, and the second cause among women. Comparably to the rest of the EU countries, lung cancer is the main cause of death due to cancer.
Nowadays lung cancer still accounts for 30% of the male cancer mortality. The three types of cancer with a stronger increase are skin melanoma, prostate and liver cancer, reveals the report.
The rise in the overall number of cases has been driven by a growing incidence of prostate and breast cancer.
The Institute points out that this increase is mainly due an ageing population. But it also stresses that other factors should not be underestimated: among them the lack of efficient surveillance of the population and the need for better diagnosis, healthier life styles or lowering environment-related risks.