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1.  Premature mortality in Belgium in 1993-2009: leading causes, regional disparities and 15 years change 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):34.
Reducing premature mortality is a crucial public health objective. After a long gap in the publication of Belgian mortality statistics, this paper presents the leading causes and the regional disparities in premature mortality in 2008–2009 and the changes since 1993.
All deaths occurring in the periods 1993–1999 and 2003–2009, in people aged 1–74 residing in Belgium were included.
The cause of death and population data for Belgium were provided by Statistics Belgium , while data for international comparisons were extracted from the WHO mortality database.
Age-adjusted mortality rates and Person Year of Life Lost (PYLL) were calculated. The Rate Ratios were computed for regional and international comparisons, using the region or country with the lowest rate as reference; statistical significance was tested assuming a Poisson distribution of the number of deaths.
The burden of premature mortality is much higher in men than in women (respectively 42% and 24% of the total number of deaths). The 2008–9 burden of premature mortality in Belgium reaches 6410 and 3440 PYLL per 100,000, respectively in males and females, ranking 4th and 3rd worst within the EU15. The disparities between Belgian regions are substantial: for overall premature mortality, respective excess of 40% and 20% among males, 30% and 20% among females are observed in Wallonia and Brussels as compared to Flanders. Also in cause specific mortality, Wallonia experiences a clear disadvantage compared to Flanders. Brussels shows an intermediate level for natural causes, but ranks differently for external causes, with less road accidents and suicide and more non-transport accidents than in the other regions.
Age-adjusted premature mortality rates decreased by 29% among men and by 22% among women over a period of 15 years. Among men, circulatory diseases death rates decreased the fastest (-43.4%), followed by the neoplasms (-26.6%), the other natural causes (-21.0%) and the external causes (-20.8%). The larger decrease in single cause is observed for stomach cancer (-48.4%), road accident (-44%), genital organs (-40.4%) and lung (-34.6%) cancers. On the opposite, liver cancer death rate increased by 16%.
Among female, the most remarkable feature is the 50.2% increase in the lung cancer death rate. For most other causes, the decline is slightly weaker than in men.
Despite a steady decrease over time, international comparisons of the premature mortality burden highlight the room for improvement in Belgium. The disadvantage in Wallonia and to some extent in Brussels suggest the role of socio-economic factors; well- designed health policies could contribute to reduce the regional disparities. The increase in female lung cancer mortality is worrying.
PMCID: PMC4200135  PMID: 25328677
Premature mortality; Mortality rates; Potential Years of Life Lost; Causes of death; Belgium
2.  Is the different time trend (1997–2008) of the obesity prevalence among adults in the three Belgian regions associated with lifestyle changes? 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):18.
Obesity is a major public health issue with increasing prevalence among adults. However, in Belgium the regional time trends (1997–2008) differed: the prevalence of obesity increased in the Flemish and Brussels Regions, but remained stable in the Walloon Region, the latter still showing the highest prevalence. The purpose of the present study is to explore if the different time trends of obesity prevalence in the three Belgian regions is associated with lifestyle changes.
We used data from four successive cross-sectional waves (1997, 2001, 2004 and 2008) of the Belgian Health Interview Survey. The study was restricted to the adult population, resulting in samples of respectively 8,071, 9,391, 10,319 and 8,831 individuals. In line with the WHO definition, obesity was defined as having a BMI ≥ 30. Differences in regional trends of obesity were investigated through stratified analyses. The association between obesity and survey year, adjusted for lifestyle factors (alcohol consumption, smoking, fruit and vegetables consumption and leisure time physical activity), was assessed via logistic regression models. Interactions were added to the models to explore if the association between lifestyle factors and obesity varied over time.
Obesity was associated with daily alcohol use in the Brussels (OR 0.66, 95% CI 0.50-0.88) and Walloon Regions (OR 0.8, 95% CI 0.6-0.9), with lower tendencies of being obese for daily drinkers. The probability of being obese was lower among smokers in the Flemish (OR 0.7, 95% CI 0.6-0.8) and Walloon Regions (OR 0.7, 95% CI 0.6-0.9) than among non-smokers. A lack of leisure time physical activity was associated with the probability of being obese in all regions (Brussels Region: OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.3-1.8; Flemish Region: OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.4-1.9; Walloon Region: OR 1.8, 95% CT 1.6-2.1). This association decreased significantly between 1997 and 2008 only in the Walloon Region.
The decreasing association between obesity and a lack of leisure time physical activity in the Walloon Region between 1997 and 2008 could indicate that there is an increasing awareness of risk factors for obesity in the Walloon population, which may have resulted in a more favourable evolution of the obesity epidemic.
PMCID: PMC4063436  PMID: 24949198
Health Interview Survey; Obesity; Lifestyle; Physical activity; Eating habits; Smoking; Alcohol drinking; Time trend; Health promotion; Belgium
3.  Breast cancer mortality in neighbouring European countries with different levels of screening but similar access to treatment: trend analysis of WHO mortality database 
Objective To compare trends in breast cancer mortality within three pairs of neighbouring European countries in relation to implementation of screening.
Design Retrospective trend analysis.
Setting Three country pairs (Northern Ireland (United Kingdom) v Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands v Belgium and Flanders (Belgian region south of the Netherlands), and Sweden v Norway).
Data sources WHO mortality database on cause of death and data sources on mammography screening, cancer treatment, and risk factors for breast cancer mortality.
Main outcome measures Changes in breast cancer mortality calculated from linear regressions of log transformed, age adjusted death rates. Joinpoint analysis was used to identify the year when trends in mortality for all ages began to change.
Results From 1989 to 2006, deaths from breast cancer decreased by 29% in Northern Ireland and by 26% in the Republic of Ireland; by 25% in the Netherlands and by 20% in Belgium and 25% in Flanders; and by 16% in Sweden and by 24% in Norway. The time trend and year of downward inflexion were similar between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and between the Netherlands and Flanders. In Sweden, mortality rates have steadily decreased since 1972, with no downward inflexion until 2006. Countries of each pair had similar healthcare services and prevalence of risk factors for breast cancer mortality but differing implementation of mammography screening, with a gap of about 10-15 years.
Conclusions The contrast between the time differences in implementation of mammography screening and the similarity in reductions in mortality between the country pairs suggest that screening did not play a direct part in the reductions in breast cancer mortality.
PMCID: PMC3145837  PMID: 21798968
4.  Socioeconomic inequalities in alcohol related cancer mortality among men: to what extent do they differ between Western European populations? 
We aim to study socioeconomic inequalities in alcohol related cancers mortality (upper aero-digestive tract (UADT) (oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus) and liver) in men and to investigate whether the contribution of these cancers to socioeconomic inequalities in cancer mortality differs within Western Europe. We used longitudinal mortality datasets including causes of death. Data were collected during the 1990s among men aged 30–74 years in 13 European populations (Madrid, the Basque region, Barcelona, Turin, Switzerland (German and Latin part), France, Belgium (Walloon and Flemish part, Brussels), Norway, Sweden, Finland). Socioeconomic status was measured using the educational level declared at the census at the beginning of the follow-up period. We conducted Poisson regression analyses and used both relative (Relative index of inequality (RII)) and absolute (mortality rates difference) measures of inequality. For UADT cancers, the RII’s were above 3.5 in France, Switzerland (both parts) and Turin whereas for liver cancer they were the highest (around 2.5) in Madrid, France and Turin. The contribution of alcohol related cancer to socioeconomic inequalities in cancer mortality was 29–36% in France and the Spanish populations, 17–23% in Switzerland and Turin, and 5–15% in Belgium and the Nordic countries. We did not observe any correlation between mortality rates differences for lung and UADT cancers, confirming that the pattern found for UADT cancers is not only due to smoking. This study suggests that alcohol use substantially influences socioeconomic inequalities in male cancer mortality in France, Spain and Switzerland but not in the Nordic countries and nor in Belgium.
PMCID: PMC2756593  PMID: 17415714
Adult; Aged; Alcohol Drinking; Digestive System Neoplasms; epidemiology; Educational Status; Europe; epidemiology; Humans; Liver Neoplasms; epidemiology; Lung Neoplasms; epidemiology; Male; Middle Aged; Neoplasms; mortality; Respiratory Tract Neoplasms; Smoking; adverse effects; Socioeconomic Factors; men; Europe; education; alcohol-related cancers; mortality
5.  Recent changes in breast cancer incidence and risk factor prevalence in San Francisco Bay area and California women: 1988 to 2004 
Historically, the incidence rate of breast cancer among non-Hispanic white women living in the San Francisco Bay area (SFBA) of California has been among the highest in the world. Substantial declines in breast cancer incidence rates have been documented in the United States and elsewhere during recent years. In light of these reports, we examined recent changes in breast cancer incidence and risk factor prevalence among non-Hispanic white women in the SFBA and other regions of California.
Annual age-adjusted breast cancer incidence and mortality rates (1988 to 2004) were obtained from the California Cancer Registry and analyzed using Joinpoint regression. Population-based risk factor prevalences were calculated using two data sources: control subjects from four case-control studies (1989 to 1999) and the 2001 and 2003 California Health Interview Surveys.
In the SFBA, incidence rates of invasive breast cancer increased 1.3% per year (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.7% to 2.0%) in 1988–1999 and decreased 3.6% per year (95% CI, 1.6% to 5.6%) in 1999–2004. In other regions of California, incidence rates of invasive breast cancer increased 0.8% per year (95% CI, 0.4% to 1.1%) in 1988–2001 and decreased 4.4% per year (95% CI, 1.4% to 7.3%) in 2001–2004. In both regions, recent (2000–2001 to 2003–2004) decreases in invasive breast cancer occurred only in women 40 years old or older and in women with all histologic subtypes and tumor sizes, hormone receptor-defined types, and all stages except distant disease. Mortality rates declined 2.2% per year (95% CI, 1.8% to 2.6%) from 1988 to 2004 in the SFBA and the rest of California. Use of estrogen-progestin hormone therapy decreased significantly from 2001 to 2003 in both regions. In 2003–2004, invasive breast cancer incidence remained higher (4.2%) in the SFBA than in the rest of California, consistent with the higher distributions of many established risk factors, including advanced education, nulliparity, late age at first birth, and alcohol consumption.
Ongoing surveillance of breast cancer occurrence patterns in this high-risk population informs breast cancer etiology through comparison of trends with lower-risk populations and by highlighting the importance of examining how broad migration patterns influence the geographic distribution of risk factors.
PMCID: PMC2829782  PMID: 20210979
6.  Trends in Belgian premature avoidable deaths over a 20 year period 
STUDY OBJECTIVES—To analyse over a 20 year period the level and trends in the "EC avoidable death indicators".
DESIGN—The Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL) method applied to curative and preventive avoidable mortality indicators in Belgium for four successive five year periods, countrywide as well as by district, separately for women and men. Ratios of YPLL rates (age standardised) describe changes between 1974-78 and 1990-94.
SETTING—Belgium for the periods 1974-78, 1980-84, 1985-89, 1990-94.
PARTICIPANTS—All avoidable death cases aged 1-64.
MAIN RESULTS—Ratio of YPLL rates indicated a more favourable development between 1974-78 and 1990-94 in the EC avoidable indicators than in all causes premature mortality. The EC avoidable mortality indicators have been assigned to two categories, curative indicators and preventive indicators. The best ratio of YPLL rates was found in curative indicators for men but the largest gains in YPLL rates over the periods come from the "preventive indicators" in men. For women, malignant neoplasm of the breast rose to the first ranked in 1985-1989 and 1990-1994, where it contributed to more years of YPLL loss than motor vehicle accidents, and malignant neoplasm of the trachea, bronchus and lung had risen to the fifth ranked since 1985-89. The order of the top causes for men did not change between 1974 and 1994, except for cirrhosis of liver, which rose from the fifth to the fourth rank. In the particular case of one "preventive indicator", malignant neoplasm of the trachea, bronchus and lung, the regional analysis of time trend between 1974-78 and 1990-94 showed more districts with a favourable development for both men and women in the Flemish region than in Wallonia.
CONCLUSION—The YPLL method combined with the avoidable mortality indicators enabled us to compare the changes of curative and preventive EC avoidable indicators between 1974-78 and 1990-94. In the case of malignant neoplasm of the trachea, bronchus and lung, which is of major concern to the health promotion policies, changes over the periods have widened a "north/south" health contrast.

Keywords: avoidable mortality; YPLL; Belgium
PMCID: PMC1731743  PMID: 10942448
7.  Recent breast cancer incidence trends according to hormone therapy use: the California Teachers Study cohort 
Recent, international declines in breast cancer incidence are unprecedented, and the causes remain controversial. Few data sources can address breast cancer incidence trends according to pertinent characteristics like hormone therapy use history.
We used the prospective California Teachers Study to evaluate changes in self-reported use of menopausal hormone therapy (HT) between 1995 to 1996 and 2005 to 2006 and age-adjusted breast cancer incidence among 74,647 participants aged 50 years or older. Breast cancer occurrence was determined by linkage with the California Cancer Registry.
During 517,286 woman years of follow up, 565 in situ and 2,668 invasive breast cancers were diagnosed. In situ breast cancer incidence rates in this population did not change significantly from 2000 to 2002 to 2003 to 2005, whereas rates of invasive breast cancer declined significantly by 26.0% from 528.0 (95% confidence intervals (CI) = 491.1, 564.9) per 100,000 women in 2000 to 2002 to 390.6 (95% CI = 355.6, 425.7) in 2003 to 2005. The decline in invasive breast cancer incidence rates was restricted to estrogen receptor-positive tumors. In 1996 to 1999 and 2000 to 2002 invasive breast cancer incidence was higher for women who reported current HT use especially estrogen-progestin (EP) use at baseline than for never or past users; but by 2003 to 2005 rates were comparable between these groups. For women who were taking EP in 2001 to 2002,75% of whom had stopped use by 2005 to 2006, incidence had declined 30.6% by 2003 to 2005 (P = 0.001); whereas incidence did not change significantly for those who never took HT (P = 0.33).
Few data resources can examine prospectively individual HT use and breast cancer diagnosis. Stable in situ breast cancer rates imply consistent levels of screening and suggest recent declines in invasive breast cancer to be explained predominantly by changes in HT use.
PMCID: PMC2880422  PMID: 20064209
8.  Time trends in breast cancer incidence and mortality in a mid-sized northeastern Brazilian city 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:883.
Breast cancer incidence within an area is usually proportional to the area’s income level. High-income areas have shown the highest incidence rates and since 2003, negative trends. As for mortality, rates are often higher in low-income regions. The purpose of this study was to analyze trends in incidence and mortality in a capital city of a northeastern Brazilian state with an intermediate human development index.
Incidence data from the Population-Based Cancer Registry of Aracaju and mortality data from the Official State Database for the period 1996–2006 were used. Incidence and mortality crude and age-standardized rates were calculated. Time trends were obtained using the Joinpoint Regression Model.
For the period studied, invasive breast cancer age-standardized incidence rates increased annually with an annual percentage change (APC) of 2.9 (95% CI: 1.2-4.6). Significant increasing trends were observed in groups aged 45–54 years (APC: 3.9, 95% CI: 1.4 to 6.6), and 55–64 years (APC: 5.6, 95% CI: 1.8 to 9.6). Age-standardized mortality rates did not show an increasing trend (APC: 3.0, (95% CI: -2.8 to9.1), except for the group aged 55–64 years (APC: 11.3, 95% CI: 1.1 to 22.4).
In the study community, breast cancer showed increasing incidence among women in the peri- and postmenopausal periods. However, mortality did not present increasing overall trends, except for among the group aged 55–64 years. For better outcomes, screening policies should focus on the peri- and postmenopausal periods of women’s lives to diagnose disease.
PMCID: PMC3503721  PMID: 23078090
Breast cancer; Incidence; Mortality; Cancer registry; Time trends
9.  Breast cancer in Wales: time trends and geographical distribution 
Gland Surgery  2014;3(4):237-242.
Breast cancer is the second commonest malignancy in the world. In 2012, approximately 522,000 women died of breast cancer across the world. The aim of this study is to provide an up-to-date analysis of time trends in incidence, geographical distribution, survival and mortality from breast cancer in Wales.
Breast cancer cases registered between 1985 and 2012 were identified from the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit (WCISU). A Poisson regression model was fitted to assess temporal trends and rate ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were determined and compared in relation to age, geographical distribution and mortality across time periods.
A total of 60,227 women diagnosed with breast cancer were registered with the Welsh cancer registry between 1985 and 2012. The age-standardised incidence rate of breast cancer was 113.4 per 100,000 populations over the entire study period. There has been a significant increase in the incidence of breast cancer over the study period, although a slight decline was recorded towards the end of the study. There is a considerable regional variation in incidence, with a higher incidence rate in the rural areas compared to urban areas (P<0.001). One- and five-year relative survival improved from 83.3 and 64.2 respectively in 1985-1989 to 91.1 and 78.8 respectively in 2000-2004. There has also been a considerable improvement in relative survival across all age groups. Mortality has improved over the study period with the most dramatic decline in the age groups 45-54 and 55-64 years (P<0.001).
There has been a significant increase in the incidence of breast cancer in Wales over the last three decades, which is likely to be partly due to the introduction of the National Health Service Breast Screening Programme. Breast cancer incidence is higher in rural areas than urban areas and lower incidence was seen in more deprived areas. There was a considerable decline in mortality rate across almost all age groups, especially in recent years. However, women over the age of 65 years had poorer outcome throughout the study period.
PMCID: PMC4244508  PMID: 25493255
Breast cancer; incidence; survival; mortality; Wales
10.  Use of a Population-Based Cancer Registry to Calculate Twenty-Year Trends in Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Fukui Prefecture 
Journal of Epidemiology  2010;20(3):244-252.
There have been only a limited number of trend analyses of incidence and mortality using population-based cancer registry data in Japan, and the national statistics regarding incidence are estimated data. In the present study, data from the Fukui Prefecture cancer registry, which is the most accurate in Japan, were used to observe trends in incidence and mortality rates.
Cancer incidence and mortality rates from 1984 through 2004 were obtained from the Fukui Prefecture cancer registry. Joinpoint analysis developed for the US National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program was used to compute and graphically present annual percentage changes in age-adjusted incidence and mortality in Fukui Prefecture.
On joinpoint analysis, there were slight increases in incidence at all cancer sites combined for both sexes from 1986, but the trend was not significant in Fukui. Mortality in women appeared to significantly decrease, while mortality in men, which had been increasing until 1999, began to significantly decrease thereafter. In an analysis by anatomical site, both the incidence and mortality of stomach cancer significantly decreased in both sexes. However, the incidence and mortality of breast and prostate cancers significantly increased. The mortality of liver and lung cancers also increased in both sexes.
Cancer mortality has been declining in recent years, and the reduction in mortality from stomach cancer has significantly affected the trends in Fukui. Urgent cancer control planning by the Fukui local government is necessary, especially for cancers of the liver, lung, prostate, and breast.
PMCID: PMC3900848  PMID: 20431235
incidence; mortality; population-based cancer registry
11.  Description of cervical cancer mortality in Belgium using Bayesian age-period-cohort models 
Archives of Public Health  2009;67(3):100-115.
To correct cervical cancer mortality rates for death cause certification problems in Belgium and to describe the corrected trends (1954-1997) using Bayesian models.
Cervical cancer (cervix uteri (CVX), corpus uteri (CRP), not otherwise specified (NOS) uterus cancer and other very rare uterus cancer (OTH) mortality data were extracted from the WHO mortality database together with population data for Belgium and the Netherlands.
Different ICD (International Classification of Diseases) were used over time for death cause certification. In the Netherlands, the proportion of not-otherwise specified uterine cancer deaths was small over large periods and therefore internal reallocation could be used to estimate the corrected rates cervical cancer mortality. In Belgium, the proportion of improperly defined uterus deaths was high. Therefore, the age-specific proportions of uterus cancer deaths that are probably of cervical origin for the Netherlands was applied to Belgian uterus cancer deaths to estimate the corrected number of cervix cancer deaths (corCVX).
A Bayesian loglinear Poisson-regression model was performed to disentangle the separate effects of age, period and cohort.
The corrected age standardized mortality rate (ASMR) decreased regularly from 9.2/100 000 in the mid 1950s to 2.5/100,000 in the late 1990s. Inclusion of age, period and cohort into the models were required to obtain an adequate fit. Cervical cancer mortality increases with age, declines over calendar period and varied irregularly by cohort.
Mortality increased with ageing and declined over time in most age-groups, but varied irregularly by birth cohort. In global, with some discrete exceptions, mortality decreased for successive generations up to the cohorts born in the 1930s. This decline stopped for cohorts born in the 1940s and thereafter. For the youngest cohorts, even a tendency of increasing risk of dying from cervical cancer could be observed, reflecting increased exposure to risk factors. The fact that this increase was limited for the youngest cohorts could be explained as an effect of screening.
Bayesian modeling provided similar results compared to previously used classical Poisson models. However, Bayesian models are more robust for estimating rates when data are sparse (youngest age groups, most recent cohorts) and can be used to for predicting future trends.
PMCID: PMC3463015
Cervical cancer; trend analysis; mortality; Bayesian analysis; age-cohort-period modelling
12.  Cancer incidence and mortality in Serbia 1999–2009 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:18.
Despite the increase in cancer incidence in the last years in Serbia, no nation-wide, population-based cancer epidemiology data have been reported. In this study cancer incidence and mortality rates for Serbia are presented using nation-wide data from two population-based cancer registries. These rates are additionally compared to European and global cancer epidemiology estimates. Finally, predictions on Serbian cancer incidence and mortality rates are provided.
Cancer incidence and mortality was collected from the cancer registries of Central Serbia and Vojvodina from 1999 to 2009. Using age-specific regression models, we estimated time trends and predictions for cancer incidence and mortality for the following five years (2010–2014). The comparison of Serbian with European and global cancer incidence/mortality rates, adjusted to the world population (ASR-W) was performed using Serbian population-based data and estimates from GLOBOCAN 2008.
Increasing trends in both overall cancer incidence and mortality rates were identified for Serbia. In men, lung cancer showed the highest incidence (ASR-W 2009: 70.8/100,000), followed by colorectal (ASR-W 2009: 39.9/100,000), prostate (ASR-W 2009: 29.1/100,000) and bladder cancer (ASR-W 2009: 16.2/100,000). Breast cancer was the most common form of cancer in women (ASR-W 2009: 70.8/100,000) followed by cervical (ASR-W 2009: 25.5/100,000), colorectal (ASR-W 2009: 21.1/100,000) and lung cancer (ASR-W 2009: 19.4/100,000). Prostate and colorectal cancers have been significantly increasing over the last years in men, while this was also observed for breast cancer incidence and lung cancer mortality in women. In 2008 Serbia had the highest mortality rate from breast cancer (ASR-W 2008: 22.7/100,000), among all European countries while incidence and mortality of cervical, lung and colorectal cancer were well above European estimates.
Cancer incidence and mortality in Serbia has been generally increasing over the past years. For a number of cancer sites, incidence and mortality is alarmingly higher than in the majority of European regions. For this increasing trend to be controlled, the management of risk factors that are present among the Serbian population is necessary. Additionally, prevention and early diagnosis are areas where significant improvements could still be made.
PMCID: PMC3561276  PMID: 23320890
Cancer; Incidence; Mortality; Serbia; Comparison
13.  FORMIDABEL: The Belgian Ants Database 
ZooKeys  2013;59-70.
FORMIDABEL is a database of Belgian Ants containing more than 27.000 occurrence records. These records originate from collections, field sampling and literature. The database gives information on 76 native and 9 introduced ant species found in Belgium. The collection records originated mainly from the ants collection in Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), the ‘Gaspar’ Ants collection in Gembloux and the zoological collection of the University of Liège (ULG). The oldest occurrences date back from May 1866, the most recent refer to August 2012. FORMIDABEL is a work in progress and the database is updated twice a year.
The latest version of the dataset is publicly and freely accessible through this url: The dataset is also retrievable via the GBIF data portal through this link:
A dedicated geo-portal, developed by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform is accessible at:
Purpose: FORMIDABEL is a joint cooperation of the Flemish ants working group “Polyergus” ( and the Wallonian ants working group “FourmisWalBru” ( The original database was created in 2002 in the context of the preliminary red data book of Flemish Ants (Dekoninck et al. 2003). Later, in 2005, data from the Southern part of Belgium; Wallonia and Brussels were added. In 2012 this dataset was again updated for the creation of the first Belgian Ants Atlas (Figure 1) (Dekoninck et al. 2012). The main purpose of this atlas was to generate maps for all outdoor-living ant species in Belgium using an overlay of the standard Belgian ecoregions. By using this overlay for most species, we can discern a clear and often restricted distribution pattern in Belgium, mainly based on vegetation and soil types.
PMCID: PMC3689042  PMID: 23794918
Formicidae; Belgium; Flanders; Wallonia; Brussels Capital Region; ecological data; grid mapping; UTM; historical data; literature; collections; observations; trapping; ants
14.  Pediatric Pneumococcal Serotypes in 4 European Countries 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2010;16(9):1428-1439.
TOC Summary: Non–heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine serotypes have increased in Spain, France, Belgium, and England and Wales.
After heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) was marketed in France, Spain, Belgium, and England and Wales (United Kingdom), invasive disease from non-PCV7 serotypes (NVT) increased. Adjusted serotype-specific incidences among children <15 years of age were compared between 1999–2002 (prevaccine) and 2005–2006 (postmarketing). Vaccine coverage increased to ≈32%–48% in France, Spain, and Belgium but remained <1% in England and Wales. Serotype 1 incidence rose in all age groups and countries (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 1.3–4.2; p<0.004), independently of PCV7 use, but incidence of serotypes 7F and 19A increased most in France, Spain, and Belgium (IRR 1.9–16.9 in children <5 years; p<0.001), where PCV7 coverage was greater. Vaccine-induced replacement of PCV7 serotypes possibly contributed to NVT increases, as did secular trends. New vaccines targeting these serotypes are available, but serotype dynamics needs further exploration that accounts for underreporting and prevaccine trends.
PMCID: PMC3294971  PMID: 20735928
Invasive pneumococcal disease; pneumococcal conjugate vaccines; serotype; bacteria; France; Spain; Belgium; England; Wales; research
15.  Recent Trends in Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Germany 
Breast Care  2009;4(2):75-80.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Germany with high public health impact. In the last decade rapid changes in risk factor patterns, early breast cancer detection, and therapy have taken place. Their effects on breast cancer epidemiology in Germany are described.
Materials and Methods
A register-based survey using recent incidence data from German cancer registries was performed. Mortality data were provided by the Central Federal Statistical Office. We calculated age-standardized rates and 5- and 10-year trends.
Breast cancer incidence increased until the year 2002, thereafter a discreet decline occurred until 2005 (−6.8%). In the age group 50–59 years this reduction was most pronounced (−12%). Mortality declined from 1996/7 to 2004/5 by 19%, with the strongest effect in women younger than 55 years (approximately 30%). Regional patterns of breast cancer incidence and mortality revealed differences within Germany of greater than 30%.
Declining hormone replacement therapy prescription is the most likely factor to explain the drop in breast cancer incidence. The reduction in mortality might be caused by better therapy and enhanced early detection during the last decade. Differences in breast cancer incidence and mortality between Eastern and Western Germany give reason for further research and discussion.
PMCID: PMC2931064  PMID: 20847883
Breast cancer; Incidence; Mortality; Cancer registration; Hormone replacement therapy
16.  Trends in prostate cancer incidence and mortality: an analysis of mortality change by screening intensity 
The rate of death from prostate cancer has recently declined in many areas of the world. Over the past 15 years prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening has increased in popularity, which has resulted in increases in the incidence of prostate cancer. Over the same period there have been changes in the management of the disease and, in particular, the use of androgen ablation. We set out to examine the relation between changes in prostate cancer incidence (a surrogate for PSA screening) and subsequent changes in mortality in regions using common treatment recommendations.
We used data from prostate cancer cases and deaths reported to the British Columbia Cancer Registry during 1985–1999 to examine trends in incidence and mortality in 88 small health areas (SHAs) among men aged 50–74 years. We conducted 2 analyses. In the first we classified the SHAs by intensity of PSA screening (low, medium or high) according to their ranked age-standardized incidence rate of prostate cancer in 1990–1994 and examined subsequent trends in prostate cancer mortality. In the second analysis we examined the SHA-specific relative change in prostate cancer incidence between 1985–1989 and 1990–1994 and correlated it with the relative change in mortality for cases diagnosed after 1990.
Between 1985–1989 and 1990–1994 the incidence of prostate cancer increased by 53.2% and 14.6% among men aged 50–74 and those 75 and over respectively. Between 1985–1989 and 1995–1999 prostate cancer mortality declined by 17.6% and 7.9% in the 2 age groups respectively. Among men aged 50–74 years SHAs with low, middle and high levels of screening had respective increases in prostate cancer incidence of 5.4%, 53.6% and 70.5% between 1985–1989 and 1990–1994. Corresponding decreases in mortality between 1985–1989 and 1995–1999 were 28.9%, 18.0% and 13.5%. Mortality declines were greatest in SHAs with low screening levels (p = 0.032). Before 1990 prostate cancer mortality was similar in the 3 screening groups (p = 0.72). Regions with the smallest increases in incidence had the largest declines in mortality.
We found no association between the intensity of PSA screening and subsequent decreases in prostate cancer mortality.
PMCID: PMC139315  PMID: 12515782
17.  Lung Cancer Occurrence in Never-Smokers: An Analysis of 13 Cohorts and 22 Cancer Registry Studies  
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(9):e185.
Better information on lung cancer occurrence in lifelong nonsmokers is needed to understand gender and racial disparities and to examine how factors other than active smoking influence risk in different time periods and geographic regions.
Methods and Findings
We pooled information on lung cancer incidence and/or death rates among self-reported never-smokers from 13 large cohort studies, representing over 630,000 and 1.8 million persons for incidence and mortality, respectively. We also abstracted population-based data for women from 22 cancer registries and ten countries in time periods and geographic regions where few women smoked. Our main findings were: (1) Men had higher death rates from lung cancer than women in all age and racial groups studied; (2) male and female incidence rates were similar when standardized across all ages 40+ y, albeit with some variation by age; (3) African Americans and Asians living in Korea and Japan (but not in the US) had higher death rates from lung cancer than individuals of European descent; (4) no temporal trends were seen when comparing incidence and death rates among US women age 40–69 y during the 1930s to contemporary populations where few women smoke, or in temporal comparisons of never-smokers in two large American Cancer Society cohorts from 1959 to 2004; and (5) lung cancer incidence rates were higher and more variable among women in East Asia than in other geographic areas with low female smoking.
These comprehensive analyses support claims that the death rate from lung cancer among never-smokers is higher in men than in women, and in African Americans and Asians residing in Asia than in individuals of European descent, but contradict assertions that risk is increasing or that women have a higher incidence rate than men. Further research is needed on the high and variable lung cancer rates among women in Pacific Rim countries.
Michael Thun and colleagues pooled and analyzed comprehensive data on lung cancer incidence and death rates among never-smokers to examine what factors other than active smoking affect lung cancer risk.
Editors' Summary
Every year, more than 1.4 million people die from lung cancer, a leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. In the US alone, more than 161,000 people will die from lung cancer this year. Like all cancers, lung cancer occurs when cells begin to divide uncontrollably because of changes in their genes. The main trigger for these changes in lung cancer is exposure to the chemicals in cigarette smoke—either directly through smoking cigarettes or indirectly through exposure to secondhand smoke. Eighty-five to 90% of lung cancer deaths are caused by exposure to cigarette smoke and, on average, current smokers are 15 times more likely to die from lung cancer than lifelong nonsmokers (never smokers). Furthermore, a person's cumulative lifetime risk of developing lung cancer is related to how much they smoke, to how many years they are a smoker, and—if they give up smoking—to the age at which they stop smoking.
Why Was This Study Done?
Because lung cancer is so common, even the small fraction of lung cancer that occurs in lifelong nonsmokers represents a large number of people. For example, about 20,000 of this year's US lung cancer deaths will be in never-smokers. However, very little is known about how age, sex, or race affects the incidence (the annual number of new cases of diseases in a population) or death rates from lung cancer among never-smokers. A better understanding of the patterns of lung cancer incidence and death rates among never-smokers could provide useful information about the factors other than cigarette smoke that increase the likelihood of not only never-smokers, but also former smokers and current smokers developing lung cancer. In this study, therefore, the researchers pooled and analyzed a large amount of information about lung cancer incidence and death rates among never smokers to examine what factors other than active smoking affect lung cancer risk.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed information on lung cancer incidence and/or death rates among nearly 2.5 million self-reported never smokers (men and women) from 13 large studies investigating the health of people in North America, Europe, and Asia. They also analyzed similar information for women taken from cancer registries in ten countries at times when very few women were smokers (for example, the US in the late 1930s). The researchers' detailed statistical analyses reveal, for example, that lung cancer death rates in African Americans and in Asians living in Korea and Japan (but not among Asians living in the US) are higher than those in people of the European continental ancestry group. They also show that men have higher death rates from lung cancer than women irrespective of racial group, but that women aged 40–59 years have a slightly higher incidence of lung cancer than men of a similar age. This difference disappears at older ages. Finally, an analysis of lung cancer incidence and death rates at different times during the past 70 years shows no evidence of an increase in the lung cancer burden among never smokers over time.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although some of the findings described above have been hinted at in previous, smaller studies, these and other findings provide a much more accurate picture of lung cancer incidence and death rates among never smokers. Most importantly the underlying data used in these analyses are now freely available and should provide an excellent resource for future studies of lung cancer in never smokers.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Cancer Institute provides detailed information for patients and health professionals about all aspects of lung cancer and information on smoking and cancer (in English and Spanish)
Links to other US-based resources dealing with lung cancer are provided by MedlinePlus (in English and Spanish)
Cancer Research UK provides key facts about the link between lung cancer and smoking and information about all other aspects of lung cancer
PMCID: PMC2531137  PMID: 18788891
18.  Cancer Statistics in Korea: Incidence, Mortality, Survival and Prevalence in 2010 
This article gives an overview of nationwide cancer statistics, including incidence, mortality, survival and prevalence, and their trends in Korea based on 2010 cancer incidence data.
Materials and Methods
Incidence data from 1993 to 2010 were obtained from the Korea National Cancer Incidence Database, and vital status was followed until 31 December 2011. Mortality data from 1983 to 2010 were obtained from Statistics Korea. Crude and age-standardized rates for incidence, mortality, prevalence, and relative survival were calculated.
In total, 202,053 cancer cases and 72,046 cancer deaths occurred during 2010, and 960,654 prevalent cancer cases were identified in Korea as of 1 January 2011. The incidence of all cancers combined showed an annual increase of 3.3% from 1999 to 2010. The incidences of liver and cervical cancers have decreased while those of thyroid, breast, prostate and colorectal cancers have increased. Notably, thyroid cancer, which is the most common cancer in Korea, increased by 24.2% per year rapidly in both sexes. The mortality of all cancers combined showed a decrease by 2.7% annually from 2002 to 2010. Five-year relative survival rates of patients who were diagnosed with cancer from 2006 to 2011 had improved by 22.9% compared with those from 1993 to 1995.
While the overall cancer incidence in Korea has increased rapidly, age-standardized cancer mortality rates have declined since 2002 and survival has improved.
PMCID: PMC3629358  PMID: 23613665
Incidence; Mortality; Survival; Prevalence; Neoplasms; Korea
19.  Toward a Global View of Alcohol, Tobacco, Cannabis, and Cocaine Use: Findings from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(7):e141.
Alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use cause considerable morbidity and mortality, but good cross-national epidemiological data are limited. This paper describes such data from the first 17 countries participating in the World Health Organization's (WHO's) World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative.
Methods and Findings
Household surveys with a combined sample size of 85,052 were carried out in the Americas (Colombia, Mexico, United States), Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine), Middle East and Africa (Israel, Lebanon, Nigeria, South Africa), Asia (Japan, People's Republic of China), and Oceania (New Zealand). The WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) was used to assess the prevalence and correlates of a wide variety of mental and substance disorders. This paper focuses on lifetime use and age of initiation of tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine. Alcohol had been used by most in the Americas, Europe, Japan, and New Zealand, with smaller proportions in the Middle East, Africa, and China. Cannabis use in the US and New Zealand (both 42%) was far higher than in any other country. The US was also an outlier in cocaine use (16%). Males were more likely than females to have used drugs; and a sex–cohort interaction was observed, whereby not only were younger cohorts more likely to use all drugs, but the male–female gap was closing in more recent cohorts. The period of risk for drug initiation also appears to be lengthening longer into adulthood among more recent cohorts. Associations with sociodemographic variables were consistent across countries, as were the curves of incidence of lifetime use.
Globally, drug use is not distributed evenly and is not simply related to drug policy, since countries with stringent user-level illegal drug policies did not have lower levels of use than countries with liberal ones. Sex differences were consistently documented, but are decreasing in more recent cohorts, who also have higher levels of illegal drug use and extensions in the period of risk for initiation.
Louisa Degenhardt and colleagues report an international survey of 17 countries that finds clear differences in drug use across different regions of the world.
Editors' Summary
Understanding how much disability and death a particular disease causes (known as the “burden of disease”) is important. Knowing the burden of a disease in a country contributes to the development of healthier nations by directing strategies and policies against the disease. Researchers' understanding of the burden of diseases across different countries was piecemeal until the 1990 launch of a special World Health Organization (WHO) project, the Global Burden of Disease Project. In 2002, on the basis of updated information from this ongoing project, the WHO estimated that 91 million people were affected by alcohol use disorders and 15 million by drug use disorders.
Why Was This Study Done?
It is widely accepted that alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use are linked with a considerable amount of illness, disability, and death. However, there are few high-quality data quantifying the amount across different countries, especially in less-developed countries. The researchers therefore set out to collect basic patterns of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and cocaine use in different countries. They documented lifetime use of these substances in each county, focusing on young adults. They also wanted to examine the age of onset of use and whether the type of drugs used was affected by one's social and economic status.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Data on drug use were available from 54,069 survey participants in 17 countries. The 17 countries were determined by the availability of collaborators and on funding for the survey. Trained lay interviewers carried out face-to-face interviews (except in France where the interviews were done over the telephone) using a standardized, structured diagnostic interview for psychiatric conditions. Participants were asked if they had ever used (a) alcohol, (b) tobacco (cigarettes, cigars or pipes), (c) cannabis (marijuana, hashish), or (d) cocaine. If they had used any of these drugs, they were asked about the age they started using each type of drug. The age of first tobacco smoking was not assessed in New Zealand, Japan, France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, or Spain. The interviewers also recorded the participants' sex, age, years of education, marital status, employment, and household income.
The researchers found that in the Americas, Europe, Japan, and New Zealand, alcohol had been used by the vast majority of survey participants, compared to smaller proportions in the Middle East, Africa, and China. The global distribution of drug use is unevenly distributed with the US having the highest levels of both legal and illegal drug use among all countries surveyed. There are differences in both legal and illegal drug use among different socioeconomic groups. For example, males were more likely than females to have used all drug types; younger adults were more likely than older adults to have used all drugs examined; and higher income was related to drug use of all kinds. Marital status was found to be linked only to illegal drug use—the use of cocaine and cannabis is more likely in people who have never been married or were previously married. Drug use does not appear to be related to drug policy, as countries with more stringent policies (e.g., the US) did not have lower levels of illegal drug use than countries with more liberal policies (e.g., The Netherlands).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings present comprehensive and useful data on the patterns of drug use from national samples representing all regions of the world. The data will add to the understanding of the global burden of disease and should be useful to government and health organizations in developing policies to combat these problems. The study does have its limitations—for example, it surveyed only 17 of the world's countries, within these countries there were different rates of participation, and it is unclear whether people accurately report their drug use when interviewed. Nevertheless, the study did find clear differences in drug use across different regions of the world, with the US having among the highest levels of legal and illegal drug use of all the countries surveyed.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Facts and figures on alcohol are available from the World Health Organization, including information about the burden of disease worldwide as a result of alcohol
Information on the management of substance abuse is available from WHO
Information on the Global Burden of Disease Project is also available from WHO
Researchers from the University of New South Wales, Australia and the University of Queensland co-chair, sponsors the Global Burden of Disease Mental Disorders and Illicit Drug Use Expert Group, which examines illicit drug use and disorders
The UN World Drug Report is available from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime
The University of New South Wales also runs the Secretariat for the Reference Group to the United Nations on HIV and Injecting Drug Use
PMCID: PMC2443200  PMID: 18597549
20.  Cancer incidence and mortality in Chukotka, 1997–2010 
International Journal of Circumpolar Health  2013;72:10.3402/ijch.v72i0.20470.
The general aim was to assess cancer incidence and mortality among the general population of Chukotka in 1997–2010 and to compare it with the population of Russia.
Cancer data were abstracted from the annual statistical reports of the P.A. Hertzen Research Institute of Oncology in Moscow. The annual number and percent of cases, crude and age-standardized cancer incidence (ASIR) and mortality (ASMR) rates per 100,000 among men and women in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug were determined for the period 1997–2010 for incidence and 1999–2010 for mortality. Two years’ data were aggregated to generate temporal trends during the period. In age-standardization, the Segi-Doll world standard population used by the International Agency for Research on Cancer was used.
The higher incidence and mortality rate of cancer (all sites combined) among men compared to women, which was observed in Russia nationally, was reflected also in Chukotka, although the difference between men and women was not statistically significant. Overall, the patterns of cancer sites are similar between Chukotka and Russia, with cancer of the lung/trachea/bronchus and stomach occupying the top ranks among men. Oesophageal cancer is common in Chukotka but not in Russia, whereas prostate cancer is common in Russia but not in Chukotka. Among women, breast cancer is either the commonest or second commonest cancer in terms of incidence or mortality in both Chukotka and Russia. Cancer of the lung/trachea/bronchi ranks higher in Chukotka than in Russia. The rate of cancer incidence and mortality for all sites combined during the 13-year period was relatively stable in Russia. Dividing the period into two halves, an increase among both men and women was observed in Chukotka for all sites combined, and also for colorectal cancer.
This paper presents previously unavailable cancer epidemiological data on Chukotka. They provide a basis for comparative studies across circumpolar regions and countries. With its small population, cancer rates in Chukotka tend to be highly unstable and fluctuate widely from year to year. Even when aggregated over a decade or more, only broad conclusions regarding patterns and trends can be made regarding some of the commonest cancer sites, or with all sites combined. Chukotka experienced substantial social and economic dislocations during the period under study, which could conceivably affect risk factor distribution and the quality of medical care.
PMCID: PMC3604447  PMID: 23518507
Chukotka; Russian Arctic; general population; cancer incidence; epidemiology
21.  Investigation of the age trends in patients with breast cancer and different sizes of tumors in Breast Cancer Research Center of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in 2001-2010 
Breast cancer is the most common cause of death in women in the age range of 35-55 years. Each year, one or two cases of breast cancer per 1000 women are diagnosed as new cases. Despite the serious prognosis and high rate of morbidity, mortality, and pathogenicity, in the case of early diagnoses, the prognosis will be better. The aim of this study was to investigate the age trends in breast cancer patients with different sizes of tumors in Breast Cancer Research Center of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in 2001-2010.
Materials and Methods:
The information in radiotherapy and oncology of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences and Milad Hospital from 2001 to 2010 were coded and analyzed. Frequency of patients’ age groups, tumor sizes and the year of cancer diagnosis were calculated. Correlation test was used for data analysis in statistical analysis in social science (SPSS) software version 18.
Among the 3722 patients with breast cancer, the highest relative frequency distribution, respectively was observed in the age of 40-49 years (34.4%), 50-59 years (26.6%), 30-39 years (17.7%), 60-69 years (13.2%), 20-29 years (2.5%), 70 years and older (5.2%) and less than 20 years. Relative frequency distribution of tumor sizes in a variety of 5 cm (T2) was with the frequency of 59.8%, and then 26% at 5 cm (T3), 10.5% at 2 cm (T1), 3.1% at T4 and 0.6 at In-situ, respectively.
The investigation of age trends showed that diagnosis rate of breast cancer increased from 2001 to 2004. It reached its highest value in 2006 at the age range of 30-39 years. Then, the trend has been downward, and it has continued to decline until 2010, which could be the result of the equipping screening system and recording the malignant cases. 85.8% of the examined tumors in T2 and T3 group were visible and may be disturbing. Comparing the frequency distribution of the infected population showed that the highest incidence of breast cancer diagnosis were in the age range of 40-49 years. It seems that as long as the mass has not reached an obvious palpable state, it has not been diagnosed.
PMCID: PMC4089114  PMID: 25013834
Age trends; breast cancer; Isfahan; tumor size
22.  Cancer Screening with Digital Mammography for Women at Average Risk for Breast Cancer, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for Women at High Risk 
Executive Summary
The purpose of this review is to determine the effectiveness of 2 separate modalities, digital mammography (DM) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), relative to film mammography (FM), in the screening of women asymptomatic for breast cancer. A third analysis assesses the effectiveness and safety of the combination of MRI plus mammography (MRI plus FM) in screening of women at high risk. An economic analysis was also conducted.
Research Questions
How does the sensitivity and specificity of DM compare to FM?
How does the sensitivity and specificity of MRI compare to FM?
How do the recall rates compare among these screening modalities, and what effect might this have on radiation exposure? What are the risks associated with radiation exposure?
How does the sensitivity and specificity of the combination of MRI plus FM compare to either MRI or FM alone?
What are the economic considerations?
Clinical Need
The effectiveness of FM with respect to breast cancer mortality in the screening of asymptomatic average- risk women over the age of 50 has been established. However, based on a Medical Advisory Secretariat review completed in March 2006, screening is not recommended for women between the ages of 40 and 49 years. Guidelines published by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Care recommend mammography screening every 1 to 2 years for women aged 50 years and over, hence, the inclusion of such women in organized breast cancer screening programs. In addition to the uncertainty of the effectiveness of mammography screening from the age of 40 years, there is concern over the risks associated with mammographic screening for the 10 years between the ages of 40 and 49 years.
The lack of effectiveness of mammography screening starting at the age of 40 years (with respect to breast cancer mortality) is based on the assumption that the ability to detect cancer decreases with increased breast tissue density. As breast density is highest in the premenopausal years (approximately 23% of postmenopausal and 53% of premenopausal women having at least 50% of the breast occupied by high density), mammography screening is not promoted in Canada nor in many other countries for women under the age of 50 at average risk for breast cancer. It is important to note, however, that screening of premenopausal women (i.e., younger than 50 years of age) at high risk for breast cancer by virtue of a family history of cancer or a known genetic predisposition (e.g., having tested positive for the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and/or BRCA2) is appropriate. Thus, this review will assess the effectiveness of breast cancer screening with modalities other than film mammography, specifically DM and MRI, for both pre/perimenopausal and postmenopausal age groups.
International estimates of the epidemiology of breast cancer show that the incidence of breast cancer is increasing for all ages combined whereas mortality is decreasing, though at a slower rate. The observed decreases in mortality rates may be attributable to screening, in addition to advances in breast cancer therapy over time. Decreases in mortality attributable to screening may be a result of the earlier detection and treatment of invasive cancers, in addition to the increased detection of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), of which certain subpathologies are less lethal. Evidence from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (better known as SEER) cancer registry in the United States, indicates that the age-adjusted incidence of DCIS has increased almost 10-fold over a 20 year period, from 2.7 to 25 per 100,000.
There is a 4-fold lower incidence of breast cancer in the 40 to 49 year age group than in the 50 to 69 year age group (approximately 140 per 100,000 versus 500 per 100,000 women, respectively). The sensitivity of FM is also lower among younger women (approximately 75%) than for women aged over 50 years (approximately 85%). Specificity is approximately 80% for younger women versus 90% for women over 50 years. The increased density of breast tissue in younger women is likely responsible for the decreased accuracy of FM.
Treatment options for breast cancer vary with the stage of disease (based on tumor size, involvement of surrounding tissue, and number of affected axillary lymph nodes) and its pathology, and may include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. Surgery is the first-line intervention for biopsy-confirmed tumors. The subsequent use of radiation, chemotherapy or hormonal treatments is dependent on the histopathologic characteristics of the tumor and the type of surgery. There is controversy regarding the optimal treatment of DCIS, which is considered a noninvasive tumour.
Women at high risk for breast cancer are defined as genetic carriers of the more commonly known breast cancer genes (BRCA1, BRCA2 TP53), first degree relatives of carriers, women with varying degrees of high risk family histories, and/or women with greater than 20% lifetime risk for breast cancer based on existing risk models. Genetic carriers for this disease, primarily women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, have a lifetime probability of approximately 85% of developing breast cancer. Preventive options for these women include surgical interventions such as prophylactic mastectomy and/or oophorectomy, i.e., removal of the breasts and/or ovaries. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the benefits and risks of different screening modalities, to identify additional options for these women.
This Medical Advisory Secretariat review is the second of 2 parts on breast cancer screening, and concentrates on the evaluation of both DM and MRI relative to FM, the standard of care. Part I of this review (March 2006) addressed the effectiveness of screening mammography in 40 to 49 year old average-risk women. The overall objective of the present review is to determine the optimal screening modality based on the evidence.
Evidence Review Strategy
The Medical Advisory Secretariat followed its standard procedures and searched the following electronic databases: Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, Ovid MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and The International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment database. The subject headings and keywords searched included breast cancer, breast neoplasms, mass screening, digital mammography, magnetic resonance imaging. The detailed search strategies can be viewed in Appendix 1.
Included in this review are articles specific to screening and do not include evidence on diagnostic mammography. The search was further restricted to English-language articles published between January 1996 and April 2006. Excluded were case reports, comments, editorials, nonsystematic reviews, and letters.
Digital Mammography: In total, 224 articles specific to DM screening were identified. These were examined against the inclusion/exclusion criteria described below, resulting in the selection and review of 5 health technology assessments (HTAs) (plus 1 update) and 4 articles specific to screening with DM.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging: In total, 193 articles specific to MRI were identified. These were examined against the inclusion/exclusion criteria described below, resulting in the selection and review of 2 HTAs and 7 articles specific to screening with MRI.
The evaluation of the addition of FM to MRI in the screening of women at high risk for breast cancer was also conducted within the context of standard search procedures of the Medical Advisory Secretariat. as outlined above. The subject headings and keywords searched included the concepts of breast cancer, magnetic resonance imaging, mass screening, and high risk/predisposition to breast cancer. The search was further restricted to English-language articles published between September 2007 and January 15, 2010. Case reports, comments, editorials, nonsystematic reviews, and letters were not excluded.
MRI plus mammography: In total, 243 articles specific to MRI plus FM screening were identified. These were examined against the inclusion/exclusion criteria described below, resulting in the selection and review of 2 previous HTAs, and 1 systematic review of 11 paired design studies.
Inclusion Criteria
English-language articles, and English or French-language HTAs published from January 1996 to April 2006, inclusive.
Articles specific to screening of women with no personal history of breast cancer.
Studies in which DM or MRI were compared with FM, and where the specific outcomes of interest were reported.
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or paired studies only for assessment of DM.
Prospective, paired studies only for assessment of MRI.
Exclusion Criteria
Studies in which outcomes were not specific to those of interest in this report.
Studies in which women had been previously diagnosed with breast cancer.
Studies in which the intervention (DM or MRI) was not compared with FM.
Studies assessing DM with a sample size of less than 500.
Digital mammography.
Magnetic resonance imaging.
Screening with film mammography.
Outcomes of Interest
Breast cancer mortality (although no studies were found with such long follow-up).
Recall rates.
Summary of Findings
Digital Mammography
There is moderate quality evidence that DM is significantly more sensitive than FM in the screening of asymptomatic women aged less than 50 years, those who are premenopausal or perimenopausal, and those with heterogeneously or extremely dense breast tissue (regardless of age).
It is not known what effect these differences in sensitivity will have on the more important effectiveness outcome measure of breast cancer mortality, as there was no evidence of such an assessment.
Other factors have been set out to promote DM, for example, issues of recall rates and reading and examination times. Our analysis did not show that recall rates were necessarily improved in DM, though examination times were lower than for FM. Other factors including storage and retrieval of screens were not the subject of this analysis.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
There is moderate quality evidence that the sensitivity of MRI is significantly higher than that of FM in the screening of women at high risk for breast cancer based on genetic or familial factors, regardless of age.
Radiation Risk Review
Cancer Care Ontario conducted a review of the evidence on radiation risk in screening with mammography women at high risk for breast cancer. From this review of recent literature and risk assessment that considered the potential impact of screening mammography in cohorts of women who start screening at an earlier age or who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer due to genetic susceptibility, the following conclusions can be drawn:
For women over 50 years of age, the benefits of mammography greatly outweigh the risk of radiation-induced breast cancer irrespective of the level of a woman’s inherent breast cancer risk.
Annual mammography for women aged 30 – 39 years who carry a breast cancer susceptibility gene or who have a strong family breast cancer history (defined as a first degree relative diagnosed in their thirties) has a favourable benefit:risk ratio. Mammography is estimated to detect 16 to 18 breast cancer cases for every one induced by radiation (Table 1). Initiation of screening at age 35 for this same group would increase the benefit:risk ratio to an even more favourable level of 34-50 cases detected for each one potentially induced.
Mammography for women under 30 years of age has an unfavourable benefit:risk ratio due to the challenges of detecting cancer in younger breasts, the aggressiveness of cancers at this age, the potential for radiation susceptibility at younger ages and a greater cumulative radiation exposure.
Mammography when used in combination with MRI for women who carry a strong breast cancer susceptibility (e.g., BRCA1/2 carriers), which if begun at age 35 and continued for 35 years, may confer greatly improved benefit:risk ratios which were estimated to be about 220 to one.
While there is considerable uncertainty in the risk of radiation-induced breast cancer, the risk expressed in published studies is almost certainly conservative as the radiation dose absorbed by women receiving mammography recently has been substantially reduced by newer technology.
A CCO update of the mammography radiation risk literature for 2008 and 2009 gave rise to one article by Barrington de Gonzales et al. published in 2009 (Barrington de Gonzales et al., 2009, JNCI, vol. 101: 205-209). This article focuses on estimating the risk of radiation-induced breast cancer for mammographic screening of young women at high risk for breast cancer (with BRCA gene mutations). Based on an assumption of a 15% to 25% or less reduction in mortality from mammography in these high risk women, the authors conclude that such a reduction is not substantially greater than the risk of radiation-induced breast cancer mortality when screening before the age of 34 years. That is, there would be no net benefit from annual mammographic screening of BRCA mutation carriers at ages 25-29 years; the net benefit would be zero or small if screening occurs in 30-34 year olds, and there would be some net benefit at age 35 years or older.
The Addition of Mammography to Magnetic Resonance Imaging
The effects of the addition of FM to MRI screening of high risk women was also assessed, with inclusion and exclusion criteria as follows:
Inclusion Criteria
English-language articles and English or French-language HTAs published from September 2007 to January 15, 2010.
Articles specific to screening of women at high risk for breast cancer, regardless of the definition of high risk.
Studies in which accuracy data for the combination of MRI plus FM are available to be compared to that of MRI and FM alone.
RCTs or prospective, paired studies only.
Studies in which women were previously diagnosed with breast cancer were also included.
Exclusion Criteria
Studies in which outcomes were not specific to those of interest in this report.
Studies in which there was insufficient data on the accuracy of MRI plus FM.
Both MRI and FM.
Screening with MRI alone and FM alone.
Outcomes of Interest
Summary of Findings
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Plus Mammography
Moderate GRADE Level Evidence that the sensitivity of MRI plus mammography is significantly higher than that of MRI or FM alone, although the specificity remains either unchanged or decreases in the screening of women at high risk for breast cancer based on genetic/familial factors, regardless of age.
These studies include women at high risk defined as BRCA1/2 or TP53 carriers, first degree relatives of carriers, women with varying degrees of high risk family histories, and/or >20% lifetime risk based on existing risk models. This definition of high risk accounts for approximately 2% of the female adult population in Ontario.
PMCID: PMC3377503  PMID: 23074406
23.  Variation in incidence of breast, lung and cervical cancer and malignant melanoma of skin by socioeconomic group in England 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:271.
Cancer incidence varies by socioeconomic group and these variations have been linked with environmental and lifestyle factors, differences in access to health care and health seeking behaviour. Socioeconomic variations in cancer incidence by region and age are less clearly understood but they are crucial for targeting prevention measures and health care commissioning.
Data were obtained from all eight English cancer registries for patients diagnosed between 1998 and 2003, for all invasive cases of female breast cancer (ICD-10 code C50), lung cancer (ICD-10 codes C33-C34), cervical cancer (ICD-10 code C53), and malignant melanoma of the skin (ICD-10 code C43). Socioeconomic status was assigned to each patient based on their postcode of residence at diagnosis, using the income domain of the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2004. We analysed the socioeconomic variations in the incidence of breast, lung and cervical cancer and malignant melanoma of the skin for England, and regionally and by age.
Incidence was highest for the most deprived patients for lung cancer and cervical cancer, whilst the opposite was observed for malignant melanoma and breast cancer. The difference in incidence between the most and the least deprived groups was higher for lung cancer patients aged under 65 at diagnosis than those over 65 at diagnosis, which may indicate a cohort effect. There were regional differences in the socioeconomic gradients with the gap being widest for lung and cervical cancer in the North (North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humberside) and for malignant melanoma in the East and South West. There were only modest variations in breast cancer incidence by region. If the incidence of lung and cervical cancer were decreased to that of the least deprived group it would prevent 36% of lung cancer cases in men, 38% of lung cancer cases in women and 28% of cervical cancer cases. Incidence of breast cancer and melanoma was highest in the least deprived group, therefore if all socioeconomic groups had incidence rates similar to the least deprived group it is estimated that the number of cases would increase by 7% for breast cancer, 27% for melanoma in men and 29% for melanoma in women.
National comparison of socioeconomic variations in cancer incidence by region and age can provide an unbiased basis for public health prevention and health commissioning. Decreasing inequalities in incidence requires the integration of information on risk factors, incidence and projected incidence but targeted public health interventions could help to reduce regional inequalities in incidence and reduce the future cancer burden.
PMCID: PMC2577116  PMID: 18822122
24.  Significantly Increased Medical Expenditure on Breast Cancer Failing to Bring Down Its Mortality and Incidence Rate 
Journal of Cancer  2013;4(7):531-535.
Background: The direct impact of medical expenses on breast cancer incidence and mortality rate has not been sufficiently addressed. The purpose of this study is to investigate the potential correlation between the incidence and mortality rate of breast cancer and the medical expenses in Taiwan.
Materials and Methods: Breast cancer cases were identified from the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) with corresponding to International Classification of Diseases, and the Ninth Revision (ICD-9) code 174, 1740-1749, 175, 1750 and 1759 from January 1999 to December 2006. Age-specific incidences were estimated by population data obtained from the Department of Statistics, Ministry of the Interior. Medical expenses, including outpatient and inpatient services, were also retrieved from the NHIRD.
Results: The incidence increased from 20.06 per 100,000 in 1999 to 30.34 per 100,000 in 2006; the total expenses increased from 1,449,333,521 in 1999 to 4,350,400,592 Taiwan dollars in 2006. The age-standardized mortality rate for female breast cancer remained essentially unchanged, while the age-standardized incidence increased steadily (except 2002-2003). Among the top 20 coexisting ICD-9 codes for expenses, four are directly on cancers, while 16 are on other diseases or symptoms, which are not necessarily caused by breast cancer.
Conclusions: Significantly increased medical expenditure on breast cancer failed to bring down its mortality and incidence rate. The finding has implications for healthcare policy planners in proposing strategies for breast cancer control and allocating the resources.
PMCID: PMC3753527  PMID: 23983817
incidence; medical expense; breast cancer; Taiwan.
25.  Cancer mortality trends in the Umbria region of Italy 1978–2004: a joinpoint regression analysis 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:10.
The aim of the present paper was to analyse cancer mortality in the Umbria region, from 1978 to 2004. Mortality trends depend on a number of factors including exposures, health system interventions, and possibly artefact (e.g. classification change, variations of data completeness). Descriptive data on mortality only allow for generation of hypotheses to explain observed trends. Some clues on the respective role of possible mortality determinants may be found comparing mortality with incidence and survival data.
Mortality data for the periods 1978–1993 and 1994–2004 were supplied by the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) and the Regional Causes of Death Registry (ReNCaM) respectively. Sex and site-specific mortality time trends were analysed by the "joinpoint regression" method.
For all sites combined, in both sexes, the standardised rate was first increasing before the end of the eighties and decreasing thereafter. Gastric cancer mortality showed a different trend by gender; that is the rate constantly decreased over the period among females while, for males, it was first increasing up to 1985 and decreasing thereafter. Liver cancer trend showed a pattern similar to gastric cancer. Large bowel cancer showed a gender specific trend, that is it was increasing among males and stable among females. Also lung cancer mortality varied by gender: it started to decline after 1989 among males but was steadily increasing over the study period among women. A decreasing trend for female breast cancer mortality began in 1994. Prostate cancer mortality trend is the only one showing two significant joinpoints: mortality decreased up to 1990, then it increased up to 1998 and, finally, was decreasing.
Overall cancer mortality was decreasing in both sexes in Umbria and this favourable trend will probably continue and further improve since population screening against breast, cervix, and large bowel cancers were recently introduced. Besides gastric cancer, tobacco-related cancers and prostate cancer mainly contributed to mortality reduction in males, whereas breast cancer mainly contributed to declining mortality in females.
PMCID: PMC1781946  PMID: 17227578

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