Mortality data, abstracted from the World Health Organization (WHO) database, are available for various countries. We used prostate cancer mortality data from Japan, the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK), Italy and France for the period 1950–2008. For the USA and the UK, data were available for 1950–2005 and 1950–2007, respectively. For Italy, data were available for 1951–2003 and 2006–07, and for France, data were available for 1950 and 1952–2007.
Age-specific prostate cancer mortality rates in adults over 40 years of age in the five countries between 1950 and 2008 are shown (Fig. 1).
Recent downward trends in cancer mortality rate were common among all countries. This tendency was obvious especially in the USA and in the UK. Mortality rates increased sharply in the 1980s, which was followed by a sudden decline thereafter. In contrast, increasing rates were observed in the oldest age group in the UK and in Italy. In the 85+ age group, mortality rates in these two countries were continuously increasing even at the end of the observation period. In Japan, remarkably, increasing trends in mortality rates were observed between 1950 and 2000, although the mortality rates were quite low in the beginning. This pattern was not evident in the other countries, and the mortality rates were similarly high across the period. Disparity among the older age groups (above 75 years) enlarged in the UK, in Italy and in France.