More and more cancer patients survive worldwide
Health experts say that more and more people are getting cancer. Around half a million new cases are registered in Germany alone. The diagnosis of cancer is one of the most terrible for those affected. However, patients can now hope for recovery better than before. The chances of survival differ enormously depending on the type of cancer.
Chances of survival have increased worldwide
More and more people are getting cancer. According to the World Cancer Report of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 20 million new cases of cancer could occur worldwide by 2025. In Germany, the number of new diagnoses has almost doubled since 1970. However, the chances of surviving cancer have increased worldwide since 2000. This emerges from an international study that has now been published in the specialist journal "The Lancet".
Survival rates vary widely depending on the type of cancer
As can be seen in the CONCORD-3 study, the chances of survival increased worldwide in the observation period 2000-2014. The survival rates vary considerably depending on the type of cancer.
A team of researchers led by Dr. Claudia Allemani from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (Great Britain) compiled and evaluated data from 322 cancer registries from 71 countries and regions.
According to the information, the study included 18 types of cancer, which make up about three quarters of all cancers:
Esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, lungs, breast (in women), cervix, ovary, prostate and melanoma of the skin in adults as well as brain tumors, leukaemias and lymphomas in adults and children.
The scientists organized the data into periods of five years each and determined the average rate of those patients who were still alive five years after the cancer diagnosis.
"Continuous monitoring of global cancer survival trends is critical to assessing the effectiveness of health systems around the world and helping policy makers plan better strategies to fight cancer," Allemani said, according to a report from the ecancer.org portal.
When it comes to cancer prevention measures, the fight against smoking is mentioned above all. Another way to reduce personal cancer risk is to limit alcohol consumption.
According to scientific evidence, alcohol can trigger seven different types of cancer.
Furthermore, it is recommended to pay attention to a healthy diet, to avoid certain meat products such as salted sausage and to avoid being overweight. According to a recent study, the latter increases the risks of eleven cancer diseases.
An active sporting life can also prevent cancer.
The countries with the best chances
According to the latest study, the best chances of surviving cancer in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and in the Northern European countries Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have been over the past 15 years.
As the study authors emphasized, Denmark achieved high growth rates in the years examined and caught up with the other Scandinavian countries.
The rapid improvements have therefore been achieved through better investments, faster patient routes and public monitoring of hospital waiting times.
How Germany looks in international comparison
In a global comparison, Germany is in the top third of the 71 countries examined for most types of cancer.
The chances of a cure for the 18 examined cancers improved in Germany from 2000 to 2014, with one exception:
In acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a blood cancer in children, the survivor rate fell from 94 to 91.1 percent, but remained at a high level, reports the dpa news agency.
According to the information, there has also been slight progress in the treatment of pancreatic cancer in Germany. The survival rate for this very aggressive type of cancer rose from eight to 10.7 percent.
There has also been relatively great progress in esophageal cancer (from 16.6 to 20.8 percent) and lung cancer (from 14.9 to 18.3 percent). But they still remain the deadliest cancers.
According to the dpa, however, the numbers are of limited significance since the cancer registries only represent 36.8 percent of the German population. Among other things, the data from the most populous federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are missing.
Cancer kills 100,000 children annually
The study authors particularly emphasize the dangerousness of pancreatic cancer (pancreatic cancer). The 5-year survival rate remained below 15 percent in all countries examined.
"Greater international efforts are needed to understand the risk factors for this fast-fatal cancer and to improve prevention, early detection and treatment," said co-author Professor Michel Coleman of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
The sometimes extreme differences in the survival of childhood cancer are also worrying. According to the information, there is the greatest difference in brain tumors in children worldwide.
While the survival rate in Denmark and Sweden is around 80 percent, it is less than 40 percent in Mexico and Brazil.
"Despite improvements in awareness, services and treatments, cancer kills more than 100,000 children worldwide each year," said Professor Coleman.
"If we want to make sure that more children survive cancer longer, we need reliable data on the cost and effectiveness of health services across countries to compare the impact of strategies in treating cancer in children." (Ad)