Cancer fatality rate is higher in the Netherlands than the EU average
More people die from cancer every year in the Netherlands than on average in the European Union, according to the European Commission. Although the mortality rate in the Netherlands fell by more than a tenth between 2011 and 2019, the number of new cancer patients was also the second highest of the 27 EU countries.
Some 267 out of every 100,000 inhabitants of the Netherlands died from the disease in 2019, while the EU average was 247 at the time. Lung, breast and bowel cancer are the most common in the Netherlands.
Dutch cancer foundation KWF said the data shows "that we have to start improving the approach to cancer in the Netherlands." KWF's scientific director, Carla van Gils, said that several factors can play a role in the formation of the figures. "Countries with good registration and population screening often see higher numbers of new cancer cases." But, "even then, the figures are still high in the Netherlands," she said. The KWF advocates focusing on prevention, but psychosocial care and palliative care are also important, according to the organization.
The statistics were stated in the first set of profiles the European Commission created about the cancer situation in all Member States. To do this, researchers relied on extensive data about the development, prevention and control of the disease in the EU. The data was collected by the OECD in 2019 and 2020 at the request of the Commission.
European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides presented the initiative as part of World Cancer Day on February 4. She said that someone is diagnosed with a form of cancer somewhere in Europe every 12 seconds. "It's the second most common cause of death," she stated. People considered to be lower skilled, and those with lower incomes are more at risk.
The approach to cancer still differs widely in the EU, said Kyriakides. For example, breast cancer screening or cervical cancer screening is not offered everywhere on a regular basis. She pointed out that through early detection, treatment and care, more and more Europeans are surviving cancer. After the summer, the Commission will present new recommendations about vaccines that can prevent cancer, she said.
Kyriakides also said it is "unacceptable" that cancer patients sometimes have problems obtaining insurance and accessing financial services decades after remission due to their medical history.
Reporting by ANP