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Cancer cases in Europe nearly double every decade.

World Cancer Day

Startling data published by the Lancet Oncology journal reveals an alarming 41% surge in tumor cases over the past ten years. This revelation coincides with World Cancer Day, marked annually on February 4th.

The statistics pertaining to registered cancer patients in Europe continue to be far from reassuring, despite significant efforts and advances in early and personalized diagnosis within the medical field.

The initial contemplation centers on the role of environmental pollution and unhealthy lifestyles, both of which exert a significant influence on the development of cancerous conditions. Previously, cancer was considered a multifaceted ailment whose emergence hinged on various factors that required ample time to manifest.

However, contemporary evidence suggests a swift reduction in this timeline, despite improvements in healthcare systems and the promotion of screening initiatives.

The figure "Cancer affects over 20% of Europeans, with a 41% increase in a decade" translates to a staggering 23.7 million people grappling with cancer across Europe. While this increase could partially be attributed to an aging population, a 41% spike from 2010 to 2020 remains unexpectedly high. The surge is notably pronounced among men, with prostate cancer cases rising by 37%. Among women, the incidence of breast cancer has surged by 43%.

Researchers evaluated data spanning from 1978 to 2013, comparing it with the most recent decade. Specifically, they examined the cumulative number of cancer cases, encompassing new diagnoses, ongoing treatments, and those already treated in 2020. This comprehensive analysis drew from the data provided by 61 cancer registries across 29 countries participating in the EUROCARE-6 research program.

It is becoming increasingly evident that Germany, Italy, Belgium, and France witnessed more substantial increases compared to Bulgaria, Poland, and Slovakia. Consequently, cancer is now defined as an "environmental genetic pathology," attributing its occurrence not only to age but also to lifestyle factors such as smoking, physical inactivity, obesity, and dietary choices, as well as exposure to environmental hazards.

Despite diagnostic advancements and the wider adoption of screening programs, alongside an increase in life expectancy, there is a concurrent, progressive rise in oncological afflictions. This scenario places a substantial economic burden on healthcare systems as they grapple to fund oncology therapies and ensure adequate healthcare provision and social assistance to individuals.

Addressing this crisis necessitates a multifaceted approach that amalgamates political interventions, health education initiatives, and a robust healthcare system. Such measures are urgently required to bolster primary prevention efforts, curtail the number of cancer cases, and enhance the prospects of recovery.

Professor Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., is the creator and head of the Sbarro Health Research Organization, located at Temple University's College of Science and Technology in Philadelphia. Stay connected with him through his various social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, to receive the latest updates.


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