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Br J Cancer. Jun 2000; 82(11): 1887–1891.
PMCID: PMC2363233
Mortality from cutaneous melanoma: evidence for contrasting trends between populations
G Severi,1 G G Giles,2 C Robertson,1 P Boyle,1 and P Autier1
1Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, European Institute of Oncology, via Ripamonti 435, Milan, 20141, Italy
2Cancer Epidemiology Centre, Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria, Melbourne 3053, Australia
Received October 18, 1999; Revised January 17, 2000; Accepted January 17, 2000.
Abstract
In recent years several reports have been published concerning trends in melanoma mortality in different countries, some of which have indicated that rates are beginning to fall. Many of these reports, however, have been based on small populations and have used different forms of statistical analysis. Our objective was to analyse systematically to what degree the epidemic of melanoma mortality had evolved similarly in different populations and whether there were any divergent trends that might increase our understanding. Instead of using all available data, we focused on countries with a minimum time series of 30 years and a minimum of 100 deaths annually in at least one sex from melanoma. We first inspected sex-specific age-standardized mortality rates and then performed age-period-cohort modelling. We found that the increase in mortality observed after 1950 was more pronounced in the age group 60–79. Statistical modelling showed a general increase in mortality rates in generations born after the turn of the century. Downturns in mortality, essentially in women and starting with generations born just before World War II, were found in Australia (where the earliest decreases were noted), the Nordic countries and the USA. Small decreases in rates in more recent generations were found in the UK and Canada. However, in France, Italy and Czechoslovakia, mortality rates were seen to be still increasing in recent cohorts. Our analysis suggests that populations are at different places on the melanoma mortality epidemic curve. The three trend patterns we observed are in agreement with time differences between populations with respect to the promotion of sun protection and the surveillance of pigmented skin lesions. © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign
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