Open Access Research article

A comparative population-based study of prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates in Singapore, Sweden and Geneva, Switzerland from 1973 to 2006

Cynthia Chen1, Nasheen Naidoo1, Qian Yang1, Mikael Hartman12, Helena M Verkooijen13, En Yun Loy4, Christine Bouchardy5, Kee Seng Chia1 and Sin Eng Chia1*

Author affiliations

1 Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore, 28 Medical Drive, Singapore, 11745, Singapore

2 Department of Surgery, National University Hospital,Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, 16 Medical Drive, Singapore, 117597, Singapore

3 Imaging Division, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands

4 Health Promotion Board, Ministry of Health, 3 Second Hospital Avenue, Singapore, 168937, Singapore

5 Geneva Cancer Registry, Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

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Citation and License

BMC Cancer 2012, 12:222  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-222

Published: 6 June 2012



Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy in men in Sweden and Geneva, and the third most common in men in Singapore. This population-based study describes trends in the incidence and mortality rates of prostate cancer in Singapore, Sweden and Geneva (Switzerland) from 1973 to 2006 and explores possible explanations for these different trends.


Data from patients diagnosed with prostate cancer were extracted from national cancer registries in Singapore (n = 5,172), Sweden (n = 188,783) and Geneva (n = 5,755) from 1973 to 2006. Trends of incidence and mortality were reported using the Poisson and negative binomial regression models. The age, period and birth-cohort were tested as predictors of incidence and mortality rates of prostate cancer.


Incidence rates of prostate cancer increased over all time periods for all three populations. Based on the age-period-cohort analysis, older age and later period of diagnosis were associated with a higher incidence of prostate cancer, whereas older age and earlier period were associated with higher mortality rates for prostate cancer in all three countries.


This study demonstrated an overall increase in incidence rates and decrease in mortality rates in Singapore, Sweden and Geneva. Both incidence and mortality rates were much lower in Singapore. The period effect is a stronger predictor of incidence and mortality of prostate cancer than the birth-cohort effect.