Spain's cancer rate: More cases, fewer deaths

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Steve Tallantyre - [email protected]
Spain's cancer rate: More cases, fewer deaths
Experts say that naivety about diet could lead to 10 million extra cases of cancer each year. Photo: JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday the globe is facing a "tidal wave" of cancer, a trend which seems to apply to Spain as cancer rates have grown by nearly 10 percent in five years.


WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published their World Cancer Report 2014 to coincide with World Cancer Day.

It predicts that there will be 24 million cases of cancer diagnosed every year by 2035, of which half could be prevented.

The current figure is 14 million, but researchers pointed to an "alarming" level of naivety about the role of diet and said that there was a "real need" to tackle smoking, drinking and obesity in order to curtail the spiralling number of cases.

IARC wrote that over the same period the number of deaths caused by cancer would increase from 8.2 million to 13 million a year.

Dr. Bernard Stewart, one of the contributors to the report, said that prevention would play a "crucial role in combating the tidal wave of cancer which we see coming across the world".

In Spain, some 215,000 malign tumours are diagnosed each year and the rate is predicted to rise to 227,000 by next year.

It is the second leading cause of death in the country.

Despite the dire prospects for the future, cancer deaths have fallen from 269.34 to 237.34 per 100,00 inhabitants in Spain over the last 4 years due to improvements in treatment procedures.

IARC warn, however, that this is not sustainable.

“We cannot treat our way out of the cancer problem,” it stated.

It called for discussion on regulatory measures for alcohol and sugar similar to the "critical" tobacco legislation that has been introduced in many countries in recent years.

The report underlined that about 30% of cancer deaths are due to the five leading behavioural and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use and alcohol use.

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