REVIEW – October 2009

Cancer incidence and its trends in Estonia


Articles PDF


The paper provides an overview of cancer incidence and time trends (1986−2006) in Estonia, according to the data of the Estonian Cancer Registry. In 2006, 6 680 new cancer cases (3 384 cases in men and 3 296 cases in women) were diagnosed in Estonia. The total age-standardised (world standard) incidence rates were 369 per 105 men-years and 232 per 105 women-years. Prostate and breast were the leading cancer sites in men and women, respectively. In the long run, a steady increase has been revealed in total cancer incidence, while the  rise continued after the year 2000 among men and leveled off among women. A rapid increase in incidence rates continued for prostate cancer. The incidence of lung cancer has been decreasing in men since the 1990s, while the incidence stopped rising in women since the 2000s. For breast cancer, some decline in the incidence rates was observed since 2003. However, the recent trends in Estonia should be interpreted with caution: due to the lack of a legal basis, the Estonian Cancer Registry has had no access to the national death certificate data since 2001.