The numbers in the World Cancer Report, which the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has just published, are sobering: in 2018, 18.1 million people fell ill with cancer, 9.6 million of them died from the disease. And there is no improvement in sight. The World Health Organization (WHO) assumes, based on the report, which is published every five years, that that the number of cancer cases will almost double by 2040. Accordingly, 29 to 37 million people could fall ill annually. In Germany alone, an increase in cancer from 500,000 annually to 600,000 is expected.
Why are cancer cases increasing so much?
There are several reasons for the sharp rise in cancer. On the one hand, the number of people in general grows, and on the other hand, the general life expectancy increases. Your own lifestyle also plays a major role: Those who do not smoke, avoid alcohol and cigarettes, avoid obesity, exercise a lot, pay attention to a healthy diet and take vaccinations, significantly reduce their risk. The head of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Michael Baumann, said in Berlin: "According to the current state of knowledge, if you follow everything we currently know, 40 percent of cancers can actually be prevented by primary prevention."
The advice is of course not new – and Most people are also aware that such measures could generally extend their lives. Still, most of them don't stick to it.
Can wealth prevent cancer?
According to the WHO, whether you survive cancer is also a question of prosperity. The probability of dying from cancer decreased by 20 percent in high-income countries between 2000 and 2015. In low-income countries, the likelihood has dropped by only five percent. In both poor and rich countries, people from poorer sections of the population generally have less chance of survival.
What is the situation in Germany?
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), almost every second person in Germany is diagnosed with cancer at least once in their life – the risk for women is 42.6 percent, for men 47.5 percent. Although about 65 percent of those affected survive the disease for at least five years, which is a very good value in international comparison. Conversely, this number also means that around 35 percent of those affected do not survive for five years.