Strong rise in cancer among young Europeans since 30

The incidence of cancer has increased sharply for 30 years among young Europeans. The growth rate is 1% per year for children and 1,5% for adolescents. The study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (Lyon) that “The Lancet” has just published used data from 63 pediatric registers in 19 European countries from 1970 to 2001. That is to say 113.000 cases of tumors in children and 18.243 in adolescents. During this period, the cure rate increased sharply: in the 70s, less than one in two children was alive after five years; the proportion is now three in four children. Environmental factors could be involved, but other complementary explanations are sometimes put forward. The authors of the study are careful not to settle the question of the causes of this development. The Chernobyl disaster could explain a large part of the increase in cancer in Eastern Europe, but it alone is not enough to understand this development. To read the study on the “Lancet” website (in English, free registration required), click here.

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Antoine Blouet


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