International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 61, Issue 7, pp 751–763 | Cite as

Age-specific cancer mortality trends in 16 countries

  • Lee LiuEmail author
  • Kristen Liu
Original Article



This study explored previously little-known cancer mortality trends with a focus on changes with age and sex differences in 16 countries.


Time series age–sex-specific cancer mortality, deaths from all causes, and population data were used for statistical description.


The cancer mortality rate (CMR) peaked and declined with age in 11 countries. CMRs appeared to peak earlier and decline more dramatically in earlier time periods rather than later periods and for males rather than females. CMR peaking could have possibly been historically delayed. Moreover, “percentage of deaths from cancer” (PDC) in all 16 countries plunged after about age 60. Middle-aged women may have higher CMRs than men. Premenopausal women may have higher PDCs than postmenopausal women.


The findings make significant contributions to the literature, though their interpretation and application have limitations due to data quality and availability. Future research should explore if and how the findings apply to other countries and time periods. Public health practitioners and policy makers should consider age–sex-specific strategies for more effective cancer control.


Aging Cancer epidemiology Community health Gender International health Public health methodology 



We thank Xinyu Liang for his research assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards


This study received no funding from any source.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geography Program, School of Environmental, Physical and Applied SciencesUniversity of Central MissouriWarrensburgUSA
  2. 2.Independent ScholarChicagoUSA

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