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Cancer Cases are on the Rise in Europe

Cancer has recently garnered significant attention on social media. Prominent figures like Kate Middleton and Hugh Jackman have raised awareness about cancer by sharing their personal experiences, shedding light on the importance of early detection and treatment. Concurrently, a new report underscores the increasing cancer rates globally.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has recently released a report indicating that Europe is anticipated to witness a 22.5 percent surge in new cancer cases over the next two decades. Internationally, the number of cancer cases is projected to escalate by 55%, from approximately 19.9 million in 2022 to 30.9 million in 2045. This concerning trend emphasizes the need for sustained research and investment in cancer prevention and treatment.

Presently, roughly 20% of individuals experience cancer during their lifetime, with approximately 1 in 9 men and 1 in 12 women dying from the disease. Major factors contributing to rising cancer rates encompass tobacco use, obesity, alcohol consumption, and air pollution. The anticipated global cancer mortality is poised to escalate from 9.7 million in 2022 to 16.6 million in 2045, indicating a rise in the number of cases. In Europe, there will be an estimated 32% increase in the number of deaths due to cancer, based on the new analysis.

According to the latest estimates by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), breast cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in Europe. Prostate and colorectal cancers also exhibit high prevalence rates, closely trailing behind breast cancer. Moreover, the most common causes of cancer death include lung, breast, and colorectal cancer.

A recent report released by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) underscores the ongoing challenges in Europe regarding equitable access to cancer care. The report highlights several disparities in cancer care, such as individuals with lower socioeconomic status in Sweden facing a higher risk of cancer mortality compared to their more affluent counterparts. This showcases the need for greater efforts to ensure that everyone has equal access to quality cancer care.

The report also stresses the importance of raising awareness about the dangers of tobacco use and implementing effective measures to reduce tobacco consumption. Notably, tobacco consumption is cited as responsible for approximately 30 percent of the most prevalent cancer causes in Portugal.

According to Cary Adams, head of the UICC, “Despite the progress that has been made in the early detection of cancers and the treatment and care of cancer patients, significant disparities in cancer treatment outcomes exist not only between high and low-income regions of the world but also within countries.”

Some of the measures advocated by the UICC include augmenting funding for addressing cancer disparities, incorporating cancer services into national health benefits, and implementing common cancer screening programs.

The latest findings from the IARC’s Global Cancer Observatory reveal significant differences in cancer outcomes between developed and underdeveloped countries. In nations with a high Human Development Index (HDI) - a metric incorporating education, life expectancy, and income - the statistics show that one in 12 women receives a breast cancer diagnosis, whereas one in 71 women succumbs to the disease. In contrast, in countries with a low HDI, the data indicates that only one in 27 women is diagnosed with breast cancer, yet one in 48 women succumbs to it.

Isabelle Soerjomataram, the deputy head of IARC’s Cancer Surveillance Branch, stated that "Women in lower HDI countries are 50 percent less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women in high HDI countries, yet they are at a much higher risk of dying from the disease due to late diagnosis and inadequate access to quality treatment.”

Recent projections suggest that the number of new cancer cases in low Human Development Index (HDI) countries may witness a drastic surge of 107 percent between 2022 and 2045. Contrary to high HDI countries that are expected to experience an increase of 36 percent in their estimated number of cancer cases, which highlights the imperative for better healthcare accessibility and resources in low HDI countries to tackle this growing health concern.

The IARC has urged caution in interpreting estimates due to the limitations of cancer data on a global scale, particularly in low and middle-income countries. Nevertheless, the reports and findings discussed clearly underscore the urgent need for increased efforts in cancer prevention, early detection, and equitable access to quality cancer care not only in Europe but worldwide.


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