Researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in collaboration with counterparts at the National Institute of Oncology in Hungary, provide an in-depth analysis of gains in life expectancy over the past quarter of a century that are attributable to progress in the control of cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared with common cancer types in each of 28 European countries and in Europe overall from 1995 to 2019. The results were published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.
The study also contrasts life expectancy gains in the founding countries of the European Union (EU) with those in countries that acceded to the EU in 2004 (the A10 countries). Among men, declines in CVD mortality in the EU founding countries were larger contributors to increasing life expectancy relative to declines in cancer mortality: 2.26 years were gained by CVD mortality declines versus 1.07 years for cancer morality declines; in the A10 countries, 2.23 years were gained by CVD mortality declines versus 0.84 years for cancer mortality declines.
Among women in the EU founding countries, life expectancy gains of 1.81 years were attributable to CVD mortality declines versus 0.54 years for cancer mortality declines; in the A10 countries, gains of 2.33 years were attributable to CVD mortality declines versus 0.37 years for cancer mortality declines.
These results highlight the continued existence of a divide in life expectancy between eastern Europe and western Europe. Continuous economic growth and improved health care have led to steady declines in mortality from chronic diseases in the EU founding countries, whereas less favourable mortality trends in the A10 countries imply greater economic and health-care challenges, and a failure to implement effective health policies.
Wéber A, Laversanne M, Nagy P, Kenessey I, Soerjomataram I, Bray F.
Gains in life expectancy from decreasing cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality – an analysis of 28 European countries 1995–2019
Eur J Epidemiol, Published online 7 September 2023;