Nearly 1.2 million people died of cancer in the former 28-member-state EU (including the United Kingdom) in 2016, according to figures quoted on Tuesday by Eurostat on World Cancer Day.
Cancer, the second largest cause of death in Europe after cardiovascular disease, was that year consequently responsible for 26% of all registered deaths across the EU, killing 656,100 men and 511,600 women.
The frequency of cancer-related deaths varies considerably from one country to another, according to data compiled by Eurostat. In the EU’s current 27 member states, the most worrying standardised death rate is in Hungary, with 345 cancer deaths for every 100,000 inhabitants, ahead of Croatia (334) and the Slovak Republic (315). The standardised death rate is the death rate adjusted for standard age distribution, which eradicates the pyramid effects resulting from ages varying from one country to another.
Belgium (247), along with France (244), Germany (253) and Luxembourg (235) fall within the global European average of 257; the Netherlands, with a figure of 285 per 100,000 inhabitants, does not.
Overall, it can be seen that the standardised cancer death rate is at its lowest in the Mediterranean and some Nordic countries (Finland and Sweden). Cyprus comes out on top with 194 deaths due to cancer for every 100,000 inhabitants.
According to a statement from the European Commission, cancer cases could double by 2035 in the EU, whereas 40% of such cases can be avoided. Reducing risks notably involves, as found in the “European anti-cancer code,” regular physical exercise, no smoking, a healthy diet and effective screening.