The European cancer burden in 2020: Incidence and mortality estimates for 40 countries and 25 major cancers

Tadeusz Dyba*, Giorgia Randi, Freddie Bray, Carmen Martos, Francesco Giusti, Nicholas Nicholson, Anna Gavin, Manuela Flego, Luciana Neamtiu, Nadya Dimitrova, Raquel Negrão Carvalho, Jacques Ferlay, Manola Bettio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Introduction: Europe is an important focus for compiling accurate and up-to-date world cancer statistics owing to its large share of the world's total cancer burden. This article presents incidence and mortality estimates for 25 major cancers across 40 individual countries within European areas and the European Union (EU-27) for the year 2020.

Methods: The estimated national incidence and mortality rates are based on statistical methodology previously applied and verified using the most recently collected incidence data from 151 population-based cancer registries, mortality data and 2020 population estimates.

Results: Estimates reveal 4 million new cases of cancer (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) and 1.9 million cancer-related deaths. The most common cancers are: breast in women (530,000 cases), colorectum (520,000), lung (480,000) and prostate (470,000). These four cancers account for half the overall cancer burden in Europe. The most common causes of cancer deaths are: lung (380,000), colorectal (250,000), breast (140,000) and pancreatic (130,000) cancers. In EU-27, the estimated new cancer cases are approximately 1.4 million in males and 1.2 million in females, with over 710,000 estimated cancer deaths in males and 560,000 in females.

Conclusion: The 2020 estimates provide a basis for establishing priorities in cancer-control measures across Europe. The long-established role of cancer registries in cancer surveillance and the evaluation of cancer control measures remain fundamental in formulating and adapting national cancer plans and pan-European health policies. Given the estimates are built on recorded data prior to the onset of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), they do not take into account the impact of the pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-347
Number of pages40
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Early online date21 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledged the following cancer registries who contributed their data to enable the estimates produced in this study via submission to Cancer Incidence in Five Continents Volume XI and to European Cancer Information System (ECIS): Austria: Austrian Cancer Registry; Belarus: Belarussian National Cancer Registry; Belgium: Belgian Cancer Registry; Bosnia and Herzegovina: Republika of Srpska Cancer Registry; Bulgaria: Bulgarian National Cancer Registry; Croatia: Croatian National Cancer Registry; Cyprus: Cyprus Cancer Registry; North Cyprus Cancer Registry; Czechia: Czech National Cancer Registry; Denmark: Danish Cancer Registry; Estonia: Estonian Cancer Registry; France: Bas-Rhin Cancer Registry, Calvados Cancer Registry, Doubs Cancer Registry, Gironde Cancer Registry, Haut-Rhin Cancer Registry, Herault Cancer Registry, Isere Tumour Registry, Lille-Metropole Cancer Registry, Limousin Cancer Registry, Loire-Atlantique Cancer Registry, Manche Cancer Registry, Somme Cancer Registry, Tarn Cancer Registry, Territoire de Belfort Cancer Registry, Cancer Registry of Poitou-Charentes, Calvados Registry of Digestive Tumours, Bourguignon Digestive Cancer Registry, Cote d Or Hemopathy Registry, Finistere Registry of Digestive Tumours, Gironde Registry of Malignant Hemopathy, Cancer registry of tumours on the nervous system in Gironde, Lower Normandy Hemopathy Registry, Poitou-Charentes Cancer Registry; Germany: Cancer Registry Bavaria, Common Cancer Registry of the federal states Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony-Anhalt and of the Free States of Saxony and Thuringia (CCR), Bremen Cancer Registry, Hamburg Cancer Registry, Hessen Cancer Registry, Lower Saxony Cancer Registry, Epidemiological Cancer Registry North Rhine-Westphalia, Cancer Registry of Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland Cancer Registry, Schleswig?Holstein Cancer Registry; Iceland: Icelandic Cancer Registry; Ireland: National Cancer Registry Ireland; Italy: Aosta Valley Cancer Registry, Barletta Cancer Registry, Basilicata Cancer Registry, Bergamo Cancer Registry, Province of Biella Cancer Registry, Cancer Registry of the Brescia Local Health Unit, Brindisi Cancer Registry, Cancer Registry of Caserta, Integrated Cancer Registry of Catania-Messina-Siracusa-Enna, Catanzaro Tumour Registry, Cancer Registry of Como province, Cremona Cancer Registry, Ferrara Province Cancer Registry, Friuli-Venezia Giulia Cancer Registry, Latina Province Cancer Registry, Cancer Registry of Puglia - Province of Lecce, Lecco Cancer Registry, Liguria Region Tumour Registry, Cancer Registry of Lodi, Cancer Registry of Pavia (South Lombardy in Cancer Incidence and Five Continents, Volume XI),Macerata Province Tumour Registry, Mantova Cancer Registry, Milano Tumour Registry, Tumour Registry of Modena, Monza and Brianza Cancer Registry, Naples Cancer Registry, Nuoro Cancer Registry, Palermo Province Cancer Registry, Parma Cancer Registry, Piacenza Cancer Registry, Ragusa Cancer Registry, Reggio Emilia Province Tumour Registry, Romagna Tumour Registry, Salerno Province Tumour Registry, Sassari Province Tumour Registry, Sondrio Province Tumour Registry, South Tyrol Cancer Registry, Cancer Registry of the Province of Syracuse, Taranto Cancer Registry, Trapani Cancer Registry, Trento Cancer Registry, Piedmont Tumour Registry, Tuscany Region Tumour Registry, Umbrian Tumour Registry, Varese Tumour Registry, Veneto Tumour Registry, Viterbo Province cancer Registry; Latvia: Latvian Cancer Registry; Lithuania: Lithuanian Cancer Registry; Malta: Malta National Cancer Registry; Montenegro: Registry of Malignant Neoplasms of Montenegro; Netherlands: Netherlands Cancer Registry; Norway: Cancer Registry of Norway; Poland: National Registry of Poland, Cracow City and District Cancer Registry, Greater Poland Cancer Registry, Kielce Regional Cancer Registry, Lower Silesian Cancer Registry, Lublin Cancer Registry, Podkarpackie Cancer Registry; Portugal: Azores Cancer Registry, Central Region Cancer Registry, North Region Cancer Registry, South Region Cancer Registry; Romania: Cluj Regional Cancer Registry, Timisoara Regional Cancer Registry; Russian Federation: Arkhangelsk Cancer Registry, Chelyabinsk Cancer Registry, Karelia Cancer Registry, Saint Petersburg Cancer Registry, Samara Cancer Registry; Serbia: Central Serbia Cancer Registry; Slovakia: Slovakia National Cancer Registry; Slovenia: Cancer Registry of the Republic of Slovenia; Spain: Albacete Cancer Registry, Asturias Cancer Registry, Basque Country Cancer Registry, Canary Islands Cancer Registry, Castell?n Cancer Registry, Ciudad Real Cancer Registry, Cuenca Cancer Registry, Girona Cancer Registry, Granada Cancer Registry, La Rioja Cancer Registry, Mallorca Cancer Registry, Murcia Cancer Registry, Navarra Cancer Registry, Tarragona Cancer Registry; Switzerland: Aargau Cancer Registry, Basel Cancer Registry, Bern Cancer Registry, Central Switzerland Cancer Registry, Fribourg Tumour Registry, Geneva Cancer Registry, Graub?nden and Glarus Cancer Registry, Neuchatel Cancer Registry, St. Gallen-Appenzell Cancer Registry, Thurgau Cancer Registry, Ticino Cancer Registry, Valais Cancer Registry, Vaud Cancer Registry, Z?rich and Zug Cancer Registry; United Kingdom: National Cancer Registration Service (NCRS), Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, Scottish Cancer Registry, Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit; Ukraine: National Cancer Registry of Ukraine. The authors are grateful to Mr Fabrizio Zaro for his help in the visualisation and data presentation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Cancer
  • Cancer registries
  • Estimation
  • Europe
  • Incidence
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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