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BACKGROUND: Until 1990, there was an upward trend in mortality from breast, lung, prostate, and colon cancers in the United Kingdom. With improvements in cancer treatment there has, in general, been a fall in mortality over the last 20 years. We evaluate regional cancer mortality trends in the United Kingdom between 1991 and 2007. METHODS: We analysed mortality trends for breast, lung, prostate, and colon cancers using data obtained from the EUREG cancer database. We have described changes in age-standardised rates (using European standard population) per 100,000 for cancer mortality and generated trends in mortality for the 11 regions using Joinpoint regression. RESULTS: Across all regions in the United Kingdom there was a downward trend in mortality for the four most common cancers in males and females. Overall, deaths from colon cancer decreased most rapidly and deaths from prostate cancer decreased at the slowest rate. Similar downward trends in mortality were observed across all regions of the United Kingdom with the data for lung cancer exhibiting the greatest variation. CONCLUSIONS: Mortality from the four most common cancers decreased across all regions of the United Kingdom; however, the rate of decline varied between cancer type and in some instances by region.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





340 - 347


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Breast Neoplasms, Cohort Studies, Colorectal Neoplasms, England, Female, Humans, Lung Neoplasms, Male, Middle Aged, Mortality, Neoplasms, Northern Ireland, Prostatic Neoplasms, Regression Analysis, Retrospective Studies, Scotland, United Kingdom, Wales, Young Adult