Early cancer diagnosis rates in Greece can vastly improve through regular screenings

world cancer day

Cancer accounts for nearly a quarter of all fatalities in Greece, with around 67,000 new cancer cases identified and 32,000 deaths annually, President of the Hellenic Society of Surgical Oncology Ioannis Karaitianos said on Friday, ahead of the World Cancer Day on February 4.

In a press conference, Karaitinos said that cancer ranks as the second most common cause of death in Greece, following cardiovascular diseases. However, for individuals aged 65 to 74, it stands as the foremost cause of mortality, he said.

With cancer rates on the rise globally, cancer is projected to become the leading cause of death by 2035, surpassing cardiovascular diseases. In Europe in particular, 4.4 million new cancer cases were recorded in 2020, resulting in 1.955 million deaths.

According to a recent research survey conducted by the Hellenic Cancer Federation on behalf of All.Can, it was found that in Greece, a mere 11% of cancer diagnoses resulted from preventive screenings, "an unacceptably low percentage for a European country," Karaitianos said.

In particular cancers, lung cancer is globally the primary cause of cancer-related deaths, representing 14% of all cancer diagnoses. In Greece, there were 8,960 new cases of lung cancer and 7,662 recorded deaths in 2020, according to the latest official data.

Breast cancer is the predominant cancer in women, accounting for 250,000 new diagnoses and 90,000 deaths annually in the European Union. In Greece, there are 7,770 new cases of breast cancer each year, resulting in 2,330 deaths.

For men, the most common cancer is lung cancer,followed by prostate cancer. Greece recorded 6,217 new cases and 1,835 deaths from prostate cancer in 2020, as per the Globocan report.

In recent years, there has been a continuous and steady increase in cancer cases among younger age groups (14-49 years old). Karaitinos said that in younger people, the most frequent cancers are of the breast, lungs, gastrointestines (especially colon), pancreas, stomach, bile ducts, as well as the urinary system, uterus, and ovarian.

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