Netherlands will see 18 cancer diagnoses per hour by 2032
More and more people will be told they have cancer in the coming years. In 2019, doctors made over 118,000 cancer diagnoses. In 2032, that will have increased to approximately 156,000. Every our, about 18 people will receive the bad news, the Comprehensive Cancer Care Center of the Netherlands (IKNL) said.
The IKNL excluded several cancers from its calculations, including a well-treatable and common form of skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma) and a pre-cancerous stage of breast cancer (DCIS). If they do count, the Netherlands will probably have about 232,000 new diagnoses by 2032, or over 26 per hour.
According to the IKNL, the sharp increase in expected cancer diagnoses is mainly due to the aging population. The Netherlands has more and more elderly people who are also getting older and older. Another factor is unhealthy lifestyles. Smoking, drinking alcohol, being overweight, and exercising little can increase the risk of people getting cancer. Medical technology is also improving, which means it is now possible to find early tumors that would have been discovered much later in the past. But that only contributes “a limited part” to the increase, according to the IKNL.
Skin cancer cases will increase the fastest in the coming years. The IKNL expects an increase of 40 percent due to “excessive exposure to UV radiation from the sun and tanning beds.” Being overweight will also cause more people to develop liver cancer, bile duct cancer, or kidney cancer.
The increase in cancer diagnoses will put a significant burden on healthcare, which is already understaffed. The patients themselves may also suffer from the consequences for a long time. After treatment, they may be chronically fatigued. After recovery, they may be partially or completely incapacitated for work, putting some people in financial difficulties.
The increase in the number of cancer diagnoses can no longer be prevented, the IKNL expects. The aging population is in full swing, and past smoking addictions and unprotected sunbathing cannot be reversed. But quitting smoking and preventing obesity can reduce the risks.
According to the IKNL, the risk of dying from cancer is decreasing. In 2000, there were approximately 292,000 people still alive ten years after a cancer diagnosis. In 2032, that group will number about 780,000 people. In 2032, the center expects one in thirteen Netherlands residents to have or once have had cancer.
Reporting by ANP