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Tobacco, alcohol, and age significantly increase cancer rates in Spain

Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) and the Spanish Network of Cancer Registries (REDECAN)

01.02.2024 - Spain is expected to see 286,664 new cancer cases in 2024, marking a 2.6% increase from 2023. This data is part of the "Las cifras del cáncer en España 2024" report, presented by the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) and the Spanish Network of Cancer Registries (REDECAN). The report coincides with the launch of the "Exercise Against Cancer" movement at the Movistar Academy Magariños, emphasizing the critical importance of physical activity in cancer prevention and patient recovery.


Key findings of the report:

  1. Exercise and cancer risk reduction: Regular physical exercise can reduce the risk of cancers like breast, colon, bladder, endometrial, esophageal, and stomach by up to 30%. It's also shown to reduce the risk of cancer-specific mortality by nearly 20%.

  2. Most diagnosed cancers in Spain: The most common cancers in Spain for 2024 are projected to be colorectal, breast, lung, prostate, and bladder cancer. Declines in lung and bladder cancers in men are attributed to reduced tobacco use, while an alarming rise in lung cancer incidence in women has been noted since 2003.

  3. Increased incidence in certain cancers: There's been a notable increase in breast cancer among women, colon cancer among men, and cancers like pancreatic, kidney, thyroid, and non-Hodgkin lymphomas in both sexes.

  4. Survival rates: The survival rate of cancer patients in Spain is on par with neighboring countries and has doubled in the past 40 years. This trend is likely to continue with advancements in treatments and screening methods.

  5. Risk factors including tobacco, alcohol, and obesity: These factors continue to be the most significant and preventable cancer risk factors. Even low levels of alcohol consumption increase cancer risk, and the combined effect of smoking and alcohol can exponentially increase the risk of certain tumors.

  6. Global cancer prevalence: More than 44 million cases of cancer are prevalent globally five years post-diagnosis, with breast, colorectal, prostate, lung, and thyroid cancers being the most common.

  7. Mortality trends: Cancer deaths are expected to increase both in Spain and globally in the coming years. In Spain, cancer caused almost a quarter of all deaths in 2022, primarily due to lung, colon, pancreas, breast, and prostate cancers.


The "Exercise Against Cancer" movement, spearheaded by SEOM, seeks to educate the public about the benefits of physical exercise at all stages of cancer. Despite the proven benefits, many cancer patients do not engage in physical activity due to a lack of information and support. SEOM stresses the importance of prescribing personalized exercise plans for cancer patients, considering their overall health and treatment specifics.


In summary, the report highlights the increasing incidence and mortality rates of cancer in Spain while emphasizing the crucial role of lifestyle choices, particularly exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption, and obesity, in cancer prevention and management. The "Exercise Against Cancer" movement aims to bring this critical message to the forefront of cancer care and prevention strategies.


Source: SEOM

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