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A Public Health France survey reveals that since 1990, the number of cancers has doubled in France with a 98% increase in cancers in men and 104% in women.

In its latest Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin, published on July 4, Public Health France reveals the figures for cancer in metropolitan France. And these figures are hardly reassuring.

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Indeed, between 1990 and 2023, the number of new cases of cancer doubled, with a 98% increase in cancers in men and 104% in women, all locations combined. Cancers of the prostate, breast, lung and colon-rectum remain the most common, as in most European countries.

Lung cancer on the rise in women

This increase in the number of cancers is obviously due to the fact that the population is growing and aging. But it is also due to an increase in risk. That due to the consumption of tobacco for example.

“We observe in particular for cancers induced in part by tobacco, in particular cancers of the lip-mouth-pharynx, esophagus, lung or bladder, a decrease in the incidence in men , but an increase in women, especially for lung cancer” underlines Public Health France.

Fewer thyroid cancers, more pancreatic cancers

Improved screening and diagnostic techniques also lead to more cancers being detected. “As for screening, the improvement in diagnostic methods is generally accompanied by an increase in incidence, often followed by a decrease. This is the case for thyroid cancers” explains SPF. After a significant increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer since 1990, a stabilization was observed between 2013 and 2015, followed by a particularly marked decrease, regardless of gender, for the last three years observed from 2016 to 2018 .

On the other hand, for other cancers such as that of the pancreas or the kidney, the incidence rates have been increasing since 1990. For pancreatic cancer, France is one of the countries with the highest incidence rate. “The risk factors are still poorly understood. Smoking, diabetes, obesity and certain dietary factors are associated with an increased risk of the disease”.

We do not yet know the effects of the health crisis

As the health authorities point out, this study does not estimate the effects of the health crisis on the incidence of cancers. “The 1990-2023 trends presented correspond to the long-term evolution of cancers, reflecting the expected evolution (excluding the pandemic) due to the evolution of risk factors and demography in France. We hypothesize that “After three years disrupted by the pandemic, the incidence will have returned to its expected level outside the pandemic by 2023”.

Source : Incidence of the main cancers in metropolitan France in 2023 and trends since 1990Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin, July 4, 2023

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