Cancer in Spain

Yesterday Elena Salgado, Spain’s Health Minister, announced a new government strategy to fight the growing number of cancer cases in this country. She presented a report called “The Situation of Cancer in Spain” revealing worrying statistics about the continuing upward trend. According to the report one in every three Spanish men and one in every five Spanish women will suffer some type of cancer during their lives. Over half are expected to survive their cancer for at least five years.

The report estimates that in recent years 162,000 new cases of cancer have been diagnosed in Spain each year. Colorectal, Lung and Breast cancers are the most common types of cancer among the Spanish population (in that order).

Yesterday Minister Salgado underlined the relationship between the increase in cancer and the increase in smoking and drinking alcohol. The number of cases of lung cancer among women has risen in recent year, coinciding with a rise in the number of female smokers.

And the number of male deaths from throat and bladder cancer in Spain is above the European average, which could be linked to higher rates of tobacco and alcohol consumption in Spain with respect to other European countries. Cancer is the main cause of death among Spanish men (with lung cancer claiming the most lives) and the second major cause among Spanish women.

Although breast cancer continues to be the most death-causing cancer among Spanish women, the report does give some hope to women breast cancer suffurers. During the last 10 years the death rate from this type of cancer has gone down at an annual rate of 1.4 percent, and today 78 percent of women who suffer from breast cancer are expected to live for more than five years.

The Minister said that her department would be using the figures released yesterday to establish a national strategy to fight cancer which will be presented to the public towards the end of the year.

The strategy will be based on information designed to facilitate early detection and prevention of the disease.

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