Cancer mortality rate ‘low’ in Malta
Women with higher cancer survival rates
Malta has one of the lowest cancer mortality rates in the EU, according to a study that shows women better resist all forms of this disease everywhere in the EU, including Malta.
The study, Men’s Health In The EU, dedicates a chapter to cancer, by far the biggest killer in the bloc.
It shows that while the average cancer mortality rate in the EU in 2008 stood at 230 males and 135 females per 100,000 of the population, Malta had a “healthier” situation with average cancer mortality rates dropping to just 200 for males and 125 for females per 100,000.
The study, compiling the latest available data among the 27 member states, shows that along with Malta, the lowest cancer mortality rates are found in Sweden, Finland and Luxembourg.
The worst record in terms of deaths related to cancer is found in former Communist countries – Hungary, Latvia and Slovakia.
As in the rest of Europe, lung cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in Malta, affecting more men than women.
The data show lung cancer killed 45 Maltese men per 100,000 against just 10 per 100,000 females in 2008. Other significant forms of cancer in Malta, although with a much lower death rate, are colorectal cancer (28 deaths per 100,000 for males and 17 for females), and prostate cancer (13 deaths per 100,000 in males).
While the study shows females are less likely to be diagnosed with cancer than men, there is also a significant difference in the gender resistance to the disease. The study shows that across the EU, women tend to survive longer than men when diagnosed with cancer. While only 47 per cent of men manage to survive after being diagnosed with cancer, the rate for women goes up to 56 per cent.
“Women have significantly higher survival rates than men for all cancers combined in each age class,” the study states.
“Age at diagnosis is a major determinant of women’s advantage. A strong link to sex hormone patterns is implicated: with increasing age, differences between men and women almost disappear.”
With an ageing European population and advances in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease, cancer is becoming the most significant cause of premature death in men.
Currently, it is estimated that around 700,000 men and more than 540,000 women die each year of cancer in the EU, which accounts for 29 per cent and 22 per cent respectively of all male and female deaths across member states.
In those aged under 65, some 198,000 men and 143,000 women die every year from cancer, 31 per cent and 45 per cent respectively of total deaths from all causes.
“Men are more likely to develop and also more likely to die prematurely from these cancers,” the study concludes.