The number of cancer cases has risen sharply since 1990

For the first time since 1990, a report by the National Cancer Institute (INCa) and Public Health France shows an increase in the number of new cancer cases in metropolitan France, even though mortality has declined.

In 2018, an estimated 382 000 new cases of cancer (54% in men, 46% in women) and 157 400 cancer deaths (57% in men, 43% in women).

These figures are a first for twenty years and they are worrying. Drawn from a report made public on Tuesday 2 July by Public Health France and the National Cancer Institute (INCa), they show an increase in the overall cancer risk in metropolitan France, both for women and men, in partly because of avoidable risk factors. However, the data collected show a relative decline in all cancer mortality, more pronounced in men (-1.8% per year) than in women (-0.8% per year).

An increase in women's lung cancers

To reach this conclusion, the research teams screened 28 years of medical data using a new methodology. This allowed to estimate, for the first time, the incidence for 74 cancer sites against 34 previously.

Among the data to remember, those concerning lung cancer. Between 1990 and 2018, the incidence (+ 5.3% per year) and mortality (+ 3.5% per year) of lung cancer is the largest increase in women, largely related to smoking. experts. In men, the trend is the opposite, the incidence falling by 0.1% per year and mortality by 1.2% per year. However, lung cancer remains "the first cancer killer in France and in the world, in fact for years, but in a deafening silence", analysis for The world Professor Sébastien Couraud, pulmonologist and oncologist at the Lyon-Sud Hospital Center (Hospices Civils de Lyon).

An increase in cases of breast cancer

Another cancer to know an increase of its incidence since 28 years: that of the breast. After a sharp increase in the 1990s and a drop in the incidence in the mid-2000s thanks, in particular, to a decrease in hormone treatment prescriptions for menopause, the incidence is again increasing between 2010 and 2018, with + 0.6% per year on average. Mortality, however, has continued to decline by 1.3% per year since 1990, thanks to earlier diagnoses and therapeutic advances.

The increase in the incidence of breast cancer is attributed to certain risk factors such as the prevalence of obesity, hormonal and reproductive treatments, alcohol abuse and night work.

Other cancers studied showing an increase in incidence by 1990: pancreatic cancer (+ 2.7% per year in men and + 3.8% in women), which also experienced an increase in mortality in women (+ 1.2% per year); kidney cancer (+ 1.4% per year for women and + 1.7% for men); liver cancer (+ 1.6% per year in men and + 3.5% in women) or cutaneous melanoma. With an increase in UV exposure, the latter increases for both men (+ 4.0% per year) and women (+ 2.7%) since 1990.

A decrease in the incidence of certain cancers

Encouraging news in this report is that showing a decline in some cancers, with a joint decline in mortality and incidence. This is the case, for example, with colorectal cancer, which shows a decline in the incidence of 0.6% per year for men and a 1.6% drop in mortality among women and men.

Prostate cancer, meanwhile, has a drop in mortality (-3.7% per year between 2010 and 2015) and also the incidence (-3.5% per year between 2010 and 2015), as well as cervical cancer (2.1% decrease in mortality per year and 1.8% incidence per year).

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