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279,260 new cases in Spain

They are the estimates collected a the report “The numbers of cancer 2023” in Spain, which has presented the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) next the Spanish Network of Cancer Registries (Redecan)on the occasion of World Cancer Day which is commemorated on February 4.

Cancer figures for 2040: 341,000 new diagnoses

And, according to the figures, an increase in the incidence of cancer – the number of new cases in a year – is expected worldwide for the coming years, also in Spain, where calculations indicate that it will reach 341,000 cases in 2040 .

However, the SEOM warns in the report, the reality may be “slightly different, since the estimate does not yet include the possible effect of the pandemic”.

In fact, it turns out that because the incidence estimates are made from projections made with data from previous years, the number of cancers diagnosed in 2020 was lower than expected and the number of cancers estimated in 2020 was be higher than it actually was in the end.

“In the same way, it is not clear how all this affected the number of cancer diagnoses in the years 2021 and 2022, and how it will affect 2023, although quite possibly the effect will already be much smaller,” warns the SEOM in its report

For this reason, it is clear that the estimates at this point that are presented should be understood “as the incidence that would have occurred this year 2023 if there had been no factors that had altered or will still alter the diagnostic possibilities of the health system”.

The most diagnosed: prostate, in men, and breast, in women

The report on cancer figures highlights that the most frequently diagnosed in Spain in 2023 will be those of the colon and rectum (42,721 new cases), breast (35,001), lung (31,282), prostate (29,002) and urinary bladder (21,694). .

They are closely followed by non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas (9,943), pancreatic cancer (9,280), kidney cancer (8,626), cutaneous malignant melanoma (8,049), oral and pharyngeal cancer (7,882), body cancer uterus (7,171), stomach (6,932) and liver (6,695).

Of the total number of cases, 158,544 will be in men and 120,715 in women.

A menjust like last year, the prostate (29,002), colon and rectum (26,357), lung (22,266) and urinary bladder (17,731) will be diagnosed more.

At a great distance, they will be followed by kidney (5,924), oral cavity and pharynx (5,644), non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas (5,491), liver (5,164), pancreas (4,779) and stomach (4,231).

Cancer figures
Estimated cases in men. SEOM/REDECAN SOURCE

A women the one that will have the most incidence will be that of the breast (35,001) followed by those of the colon and rectum (16,364), lung (9,016), uterine body (7,171), thyroid (4,651), pancreas (4,510), non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas (4. ) and those of the urinary bladder (3,963).

Thus, the report maintains lung cancer as the third most common cause, a trend that has been repeated since 2019. Experts relate the increase to the increase in tobacco consumption in women from the 1970s.

Women graphic cancer figures
Estimated cases in women. SEOM/REDECAN SOURCE

In general, SEOM predicts an increase in the incidence of other tobacco-related tumors, such as those of the oral cavity and pharynx or urinary bladder.

Why is the number of diagnoses increasing every year?

In recent decades, the absolute number of diagnoses has increased due to the increase in the population in Spain (from 30,850,000 inhabitants in 1990 to 47,326,687 in 2021) and aging – the risk begins to increase significantly in from the age of 45-49.

But also due to exposure to risk factors such as tobacco, alcohol, pollution, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and inadequate diets.

And the fact is that the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that around a third of cancer deaths are due to these avoidable factors.

For example, it is estimated that in 2020, in Spain, alcohol was responsible for the diagnosis of around 4,500 cases of colon cancer, around 2,100 of breast, and around 1,500 cases of hepatocarcinoma and tumors of the oral cavity , others.

Figures cancer factors alcohol
Cases attributable to alcohol/SEOM/Source: Rumgay H et al. (2021)
Chart: Global Cancer Observatory (http://gco.iarc.fr/)
© International Agency for Research on Cancer

On the other hand, the increase in cases is also due to some types of cancer such as colorectal, breast, cervix or prostate, to the increase in early detection.

Cancer, one of the main causes of death

In Spain, it is estimated that the cancer mortality it will increase from 112,000 cases in 2020 to more than 159,000 in 2040. The estimate, the SEOM clarifies, which, as with the incidence, must be understood as what there would have been in 2020 without the pandemic.

In men, tumors have remained the main cause of mortality in Spain in 2021 (67,884), ahead of cardiovascular (55,905) and infectious diseases (25,728).

And in women, cardiovascular pathologies were the main cause (63,291), followed by tumors (45,818) and infectious diseases (20,273).

Among deaths from tumours, the most frequent causes in Spain in 2021, as in previous years, were lung, colon, pancreatic, breast and prostate cancers.

The report highlights that, in general, cancer mortality in Spain has experienced “a sharp decline” in recent decades due to improvements in patient survival due to prevention, early diagnosis campaigns, therapeutic advances, and , in men, the decrease in the prevalence of smoking.

Other changes, such as the increase in lung cancer attributable to pollution or treatments for the hepatitis virus, “will take time to show”.

And due to the increase in the incidence of pancreatic cancer, its mortality, in both men and women, has risen, contrary to what happens with the stomach, which has fallen “very significantly” in Spain in the last decades.

And survival?

Survival in cancer patients is interpreted as the probability of survival after a given time since diagnosis.

In Spain it is similar to that of the countries around us. It is estimated to have doubled in the last 40 years and is likely to continue to increase “albeit slowly” in the coming years, the report predicts.

The five-year net survival of patients diagnosed in the period 2008-2013 in Spain was 55.3% in men and 61.7% in women. The difference is that certain tumors are “probably” more common in one sex than the other, according to the SEOM report.

The president of SEOM, Enriqueta Felip, during the presentation of the report on cancer figures, reflected on the current situation and assessed that survival is improving in Spain. “We are in an era of precision medicine, we have immunotherapy strategies and the multidisciplinary approach is key.”

And in particular, Felip has emphasized the need for oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, surgeons, nurses, geriatricians, patients and family members, among others, to work together.

The SEOM has also released a video in which professionals, patients and family members participate to exchange knowledge, experiences and experiences with the maxim of “getting on with life” and the claim that “we want to live and we want to live well”.

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