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Alarming WHO prognosis: 18 million diagnoses of cancer in 2018 – every third disease could be prevented

Alarming WHO prognosis: 18 million diagnoses of cancer in 2018 – every third disease could be prevented

Alarming WHO prognosis: 18 million diagnoses of cancer in 2018 – every third disease could be prevented

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The cancer experts at the WHO make a terrifying prediction: worldwide, more and more people are getting cancer and are dying of it. Europe is particularly affected. This is all the more tragic because one third of the illnesses would not have to be.

Doctors, researchers and politicians have turned cancer into cancer decades ago, hoping to beat it for the year 2000. As you know, that did not work.

Despite many advances in therapy and survival, nowadays more people than ever get cancer. It is estimated that there will be 18.1 million new cases by 2018, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Europe accounts for more than 23 percent of all diagnoses of cancer

But that is not because cancer has become more aggressive. On the contrary, the longer life expectancy of people leads to more diseases. Improved diagnostic options detect tumors more often. And international population growth helps more potential patients.

Some figures from the IISC Statisitik report:

  • Every fifth man and every sixth woman in the world gets a diagnosis of cancer in the course of life.
  • Every eighth man and every eleventh woman dies of cancer.
  • The number of cancer deaths in 2018 is estimated at 9.6 million.
  • Most deaths are caused by lung, colon, stomach, liver and breast cancer.
  • Almost 1.8 million people around the world die from lung cancer.
  • There are 881,000 deaths from colorectal cancer.
  • Gastric cancer claims 783,000 deaths.
  • Liver cancer kills 782,000 people.
  • Breast cancer loses 627,000 people.

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Although Europe represents only 9 percent of the world's population, it accounts for 23.4 percent of the global diagnosis of cancer and just over 20 percent of cancer deaths.

Unhealthy lifestyle factors are responsible for every third cancer case

What distinguishes the WHO cancer specialists in particular is the fact that many cancers can be prevented. "The new figures underline that prevention plays a key role in the fight against cancer," says IARC director Christopher Wild.

And Volker Arndt of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg adds: "Recent evaluations by DKFZ have shown that more than a third of all new cases of cancer in Germany are due to influenceable risk factors and potentially avoided."

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Abolition of tobacco, weight loss, better food = 165,000 fewer cases of cancer in Germany

For this, the Heidelberg scientists looked at all 440,000 expected to get new cancer cases in 2018 in people aged 35 to 84 years. They calculated nearly 165,000 fewer cancers if certain risk factors had been removed. The avoidable risk factors of smoking, poor nutrition and obesity play the most important role here.

19 percent of all cancer cases in Germany go back to smoking. Unhealthy eating is responsible for just under eight percent, overweight for seven percent of cancer cases. Just behind, there is a lack of physical activity.

50 percent less cancer without avoidable risk factors plus consistent cancer screening

In their extrapolation, the researchers did not consider the risk factor of UV radiation. If they had included the effects of solarium visits, long sunbathing and inadequate sun protection, the proportion of preventable cancers would be even greater.

The authors of the research also note that even half of all forms of cancer can be avoided or nipped in the bud. Not only should risk factors in lifestyle be minimized, but cancer screening studies should also be used on a regular basis.

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