There is still exists a big gap between Western and Eastern European countries when it comes to overall survival rates among prostate cancer (PCa) patients, and the difference is linked to the use of opportunistic screening methods in these regions.
“The highest survival difference between Western and Eastern Europe is highest in the younger patient (populations) and largely reflect the different spread of PSA testing,” said Roberta De Angelis who spoke about the findings of the EUROCARE 5 study at the recently concluded 29th Annual EAU Congress in Stockholm, Sweden.
The results on prostate cancer is part of the larger EUROCARE study which covers 45 types of solid tumours, from data collected by 116 cancer registries in 29 countries and covering around 50% (461 million) of the European population. EUROCARE 5 covered the years 1999 to 2007.
“Survival rates in prostate cancer are highest in the central (88%), southern (86%) and northern (85%) Europe, and lowest in Eastern Europe (72%),” said De Angelis who added that the European average was at 83%. The results were from more 900,000 PCa cases in 29 European countries and recorded from the period 2000 to 2007.
According to De Angelis, Denmark and Bulgaria were among the countries in their respective regions that recorded low survival rates, and the results were attributed to the lower use of screening or diagnostic procedures.
De Angelis also said that regional variations in Western Europe is much smaller, but highest in the elderly population. She noted that the figures on regional survival differences is expected to decline over time as countries in Eastern Europe implement health reforms and catches up with their western counterparts.
Another trend that she highlighted is the increases in survival rates that reflect improvements in therapeutic strategies which have taken place in the last decade. She, however, acknowledged that with the widespread use of screening methods, such as PSA testing, there is indeed a trend towards overtreatment.