Breast cancer mortality in European women has been falling for three decades. We analysed trends in mortality from breast cancer in Europe over the period 1980-2017 and predicted number of deaths and rates to 2025.
We extracted death certification data for breast cancer in women for 35 European countries, between 1980 and 2017, from the World Health Organisation database. We computed the age-standardised (world standard population) mortality rates per 100,000 person-years, by country and calendar year. We obtained also predictions for 2025 using a joinpoint regression model and calculated the number of avoided deaths over the period 1994-2025.
The mortality rate declined from 15.0 in 2012 to 14.4 in 2017 per 100,000 women (-3.9%) for the European Union (EU)-27. This fall was greater in the EU-14 (-5.2%), whereas rates rose in the transitional countries during this period by 1.9%. Mortality rate predictions across Europe are expected to reach relatively uniform levels in 2025. During the studied period, favourable trends in mortality emerged in most countries, with the greatest decrease in Denmark, whereas Poland and Romania showed an upward trend. The largest predicted decrease in breast cancer mortality was estimated for the United Kingdom (12.2/100,000 women in 2025), leading to the estimated avoidance of 150,000 breast cancer deaths over the period 1994-2025 and 470,000 in the EU-27.
Favourable trends in breast cancer mortality were observed in most European countries, and they will continue to fall in the coming years. Less favourable patterns were still observed among the transitional countries than other European areas.

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