Objective: The aim of this paper is to outline the age effect on cancer trends observed in Italy between 1998 and 2005. Methods: We analysed crude and age-adjusted cancer incidence and mortality trends for 36 sites and both sexes using data from 22 population-based registries of the Italian Network of Cancer Registries (AIRTUM). Some 818,017 incident cancers and 342,444 cancer deaths were analysed. Results: The population aged 65 years and older increased from 19.0% to 20.6% between 1998 and 2005with a significant effect on the cancer burden. The all-cancer, age-adjusted incidence rate was quite stable over the period all sites excluding non-melanoma skin cancers: annual percent change (APC) men +0.3 CI +0.1/+0.5, women +0.2 CI −0.1/+0.4), but population ageing resulted in a growing number of new cases (crude rates: APC men +1.3 CI +1.0/+1.7, women +0.9 CI +0.6/+1.2). This effect was not evident for those cancer sites with high incidence rates among young subjects. The all-cancer, age-adjusted mortality rate decreased in both sexes but the crude rate changed in women only. Mortality increased for lung cancer amongwomen (APC +1.5; CI +0.5/+2.5) and formelanoma among men (APC +2.7; CI +0.5/+4.8).
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