Less smoking helps push cancer deaths down in Europe

Cancer killed fewer Europeans in the first half of this decade, largely thanks to a decrease in smoking. A new study finds that while death rates from cancer varied between men and women and among countries, they generally improved in all major European nations.

The study, published Monday in the Annals of Oncology, found that in the 27 European Union countries, overall cancer mortality declined 9% in men and 8% in women in the period 2000-2004 compared with 1990-1994. That translates to the cancer death rate falling from 185.2 deaths per 100,000 men to 168, and from 104.8 to 96.9 for women. Middle-age people showed the largest drop.