In 2006 in Europe there were an estimated 3,191,600 cancer cases diagnosed (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers) and 1,713,000 deaths from cancer. The total number of new cases of cancer in Europe increased by 300,000 between 2004 and 2006. With an estimated 3.3 million new cases (53 percent occurring in men and 47 percent in women) and 1.7 million deaths (56 percent in men and 44 percent in women) each year, cancer remains an important public health problem in Europe, said Professor Boyle, and the ageing of the population will mean that these numbers will continue to increase even if age-specific rates remain constant.
The Europe against Cancer programme was established in 1985 to try to tackle increasing cancer incidence and mortality. The first stage of the programme had, as its objective, the reduction of the number of deaths expected to be caused by cancer by 15 percent by the year 2000. This goal was to be achieved by a partnership approach and a programme of activities in primary prevention (particularly tobacco control), screening, and education and training.
This approach has clearly paid off, said Professor Boyle. In the EU in 2000, we expected to see 1,033,083 deaths from cancer on the basis of age-specific rates for the mid 1980s. In fact, we now know that there were 935,219 cancer deaths in the EU in 2000 97,684 fewer than expected, or a reduction of 9.5 percent.
Cancer and other chronic diseases, which are becoming more common throughout the world, can cause devastating damage to entire families, he said. If cancer is not given higher priority through focused global efforts, healthcare systems in low-income and middle-income countries will encounter even further problems as the number of cancer cases increases. More and more people will die prematurely and needlessly from cancer, with devastating social and economic consequences for households, communities, and countries ali
|Contact: Mary Rice|
Federation of European Cancer Societies