Objective To analyse the trends in mortality for the overall and major types of cancer, by sex, in Brazil and major regions for State Capitals and inland counties between 1980 and 2006.
Methods Data were obtained from System of Mortality Information and from Brazilian Institute of Geography & Statistics. Magnitude of death rates from overall and major types cancers were corrected adding proportional distribution of 50% of ill-defined causes of death, and standardised by age group according to Standard World Population. Trend curves for Brazil and its major regions, for State Capitals and inland counties, by sex, and were evaluated by simple linear regression.
Results Among men ascending mortality rates were observed for lung, prostate and colorectal cancers. Declining trends were seen for stomach cancer and oesophagus cancer remains stable. Among women, mortality rates for breast, lung and colorectal cancer increased, and cervical and stomach cancer declined markedly. Mortality trends varied among Brazilian major regions and exhibited distinct patterns for state capitals and inland counties.
Conclusion Correction of mortality rates, based on redistribution of ill-defined causes of death, increased the overall cancer mortality in Brazil by 10% in 1980 and 5% in 2006. Among inland counties, and different from State Capitals, no decrease or stability in trend of mortality rates was found. Worse access to health services of diagnostic and treatment for cancer and less outreach of prevention actions among populations living away from big urban centers in Brazil, may be part of the explanation for these differences.
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