A special issue of the European Journal of Cancer commented on the increased incidence of cancer despite the mortality rate from cancer being reduced considerably. The figures show an increase from 2.1 million cases in 2002 to a staggering 2.8 million in 2008. The economic recession will also affect the amount of money going into cancer research, feels Dr. José M. Martin-Moreno and his colleagues of the University of Valencia, Spain. The donations from public organizations have gone down, along with substantial cut backs in cancer research projects by various pharmaceutical companies.
The researchers also point to the fact that the safety guards against exposure to deadly carcinogens are likely to be reduced as well, especially for those who work in smaller companies and in developing countries. A Korean study, conducted back in the 90s, hints that incurring a recurring expenditure for health safeguards are not considered to be mandatory, especially when it can help to avoid bankruptcy. The effect thus gets compounded in industries where the contamination by carcinogens tends to be high, like the mining industry.
Dr. Martin-Moreno further elaborates that the prevention of cancer is also dependent on a number of other factors. Life style habits, occupation, environment, and genetics, all play a part in proper prevention of cancer. Being exposed to infections as well as access to the preventive measures are also influencing factors.
The editors of the publication go on to emphasize the importance of four of the most important risk factors; smoking, alcohol, obesity, and an inactive life, physically. A paper by Dr. Esther de Vries and fellow researchers also describes the impact that weight gain and physical inactivity have on colon cancer. The data was retrieved from the cancer registries of seven European countries, namely, The Netherlands, Spain, Latvia, Czech Republic, UK, France, and Denmark.
Colon cancer is the second most common incidence of cancer in Europe, as well as the second most common cause of cancer related deaths. Dr. Renehan states that adopting weight reduction measures would prove to be more effective for men while increased levels of physical activity works better for women in preventing colon cancer.
The ECCO President, Professor Michael Baumann, hopes that this special issue will help the policy makers to reflect on the dangers of the rising incidence of cancer and take effective preventive measures, instead of being concerned with short term cost cutting strategies.
Source: European Journal of Cancer, volume 46, issue 14 (September 2010), “Implementing Cancer Prevention in Europe”.
Kim J, Paek D. Safety and health in small-scale enterprises and bankruptcy during economic depression in Korea. J Occupational Health 2000; 42(5): 270-5.