The impact of cancer in Spain seems to find no ceiling. The number of new cases diagnosed in 2019 will reach 277,234, 12% more than in 2015. This increase, according to the report "The figures of cancer in Spain", prepared by the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology, responds to factors such as population increase, aging, exposure to risk factors or the implementation of early detection programs that, if appropriate, condition the increase in the number of cases, but a reduction in mortality.
This increase will be significantly higher in women, 17.4% compared to 8.2% in men. One of the main reasons is the increase in the number of lung cancer cases that, for the first time, becomes the third with the highest incidence in females, after breast and colorectal cancers. In that sense, Dr. Ruth Vera, president of SEOM, has pointed out that "despite the important achievements made in recent decades with regard to raising awareness about the pretumoral effect of tobacco, this remains responsible for nearly eight million deaths due to cancer in the world. "
The most frequent cancers diagnosed in Spain in 2019 will be those of colon and rectum (44,937), prostate (34,394), breast (32,503), lung (20,503) and bladder (23,819). In men, the most recurrent will be those of prostate, colon and rectum; in women, breast, colorectal and lung. While the number of cases of lung cancer in women is increasing (like smoking), in men it is reducing evenly to the reduction of habit. In spite of everything, its consumption continues being more frequent in men (26.2%) than in women (18.5%), according to Eurostat data in 2014. The rest of tobacco-related tumors, such as those of the oral cavity and pharynx, will also increase.
On the contrary, it is worth highlighting the continuous decrease of gastric cancer in Spain in the last decades, fifth in frequency in men in Spain, according to the estimations of Redecan in 2015. This downward trend is evident in the rest of Western countries, although Globally, it is still one of the most frequent. This decrease is related to the reduction of the incidence of infection by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, with dietary modifications or with the decrease in the consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
According to the Globocan data, the number of tumors worldwide continues to grow, having increased from the 14 million cases in the world estimated in 2012 to 18.1 million in 2018. Population estimates indicate that the number of new cases will increase in the coming decades, reaching 29.5 million in 2040. The most frequently diagnosed tumors in the world in 2018 have been those of the lung, breast, colon, rectum, prostate and stomach. Age conditions the risk of developing cancer. Thus, the risk increases significantly after 45-50 years. From birth to 80 years, men have a risk of developing cancer of 42.5% and in women by 27.4%. At age 85, these values increase to 50.8% in men and 32.3% in women.
Increase in survival
"We have to start delinking the diagnosis of cancer from a diagnosis of death, even though we see the data of increased incidence, we should think of it as a disease that is cured," Vera said, in general, cancer survival in Spain. has experienced a strong rise in recent decades.This trend responds to early diagnosis campaigns and therapeutic advances.Some other changes, such as the increase in lung cancer attributable to contamination, are likely to be evident in the coming decades, taking into account the data from cohort studies carried out in other countries. "We are living an advance in the knowledge of this disease, knowing why it happens will give us weapons to deal with it better, it will give us technology to diagnose it earlier, and when it is already diagnosed , we have more treatment alternatives. "
Despite the high mortality rates, the survival of cancer patients in European countries has increased steadily in recent years, especially for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and rectal cancer, related to treatment progress, and for Prostate cancer, related to early diagnosis. In Spain, the survival of patients with cancer is similar to that of the rest of our countries, 53% after five years. According to the data published by the World Health Organization, around one third of cancer deaths are due to preventable causes, such as tobacco, infections and alcohol. "It is important to identify the individual susceptibility to different diseases in order to apply the molecular measures of the different types of such a complex disease, in order to predict which patients will relapse while others will not," Vera concluded. "Until now we have been guided by clinical criteria, but they are already starting to use molecular productive factors."