The highest shares of avoidable deaths were registered in Romania (48.6%) and Latvia (47.5%), followed by Lithuania (47.0%) and Slovakia (44.2%, according to an Eurostat report. On the other hand, the share was below a quarter in France (23.6%) and between 25% and 30% in Belgium (26.0%), Denmark (26.6%), the Netherlands (28.1%), and Poland (29.9%).
In the European Union (EU), 1.7 million persons aged less than 75 died in 2015. Of those, more than 570 000 (or 33.1% of total deaths) could be considered as untimely. In other words, 1 death out of 3 in the EU could have been avoided in the light of medical knowledge and technology.
Heart attacks (more than 180 500 avoidable deaths or 32% of total avoidable deaths of persons aged less than 75) accounted by far for the largest share of potentially avoidable deaths in the EU. They were followed by strokes (more than 89 600 deaths, or 16%), colorectal cancers (more than 66 800 or 12%), breast cancers (around 49 900 or 9%), hypertensive diseases (30 400 or 5%) and pneumonia (almost 26 000 or 5%).
The concept of avoidable death means that certain deaths (for specific age groups and from specific diseases) could have been ‘avoided’ – that they would not have occurred at this stage if there had been timely and effective health care in place.