Cancer cases in France have doubled since 1990

There are likely to be twice as many cases of cancer in France this year than there were three decades ago, according to a study by the national health body Santé Publique France

It has been suggested that lung cancer will soon overtake breast cancer in terms of mortality among women

Estimates, published at the start of July, predict 433,136 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2023 – double the figure for 1990. The increase is more marked among women, where there is a 104% increase compared to 98% for men.

The rise in cases has largely been attributed to population growth and ageing. The median age at diagnosis is 70 for men and 68 for women. One factor is likely to be increased uptake of screening and early detection, especially of thyroid and prostate cancer.

Researchers also highlighted an increase in risk linked to behaviour and lifestyle, again with gender differences. While smoking, alcohol, excess weight, and a sedentary lifestyle are responsible for almost half of all female cancers, the impact is now less marked in men.

The incidence of cancers linked to smoking, in particular, has risen "considerably" for women, the report said, while falling for men.

The study looked at the 19 most common cancers and invasive tumours. Of these, prostate, breast, lung, and colorectal cancers remain the most prevalent, as in most European countries.

It was noted that "preventive strategies need to be stepped up among high-risk populations and age groups." Health authorities are aiming to reduce the number of preventable cancers by 60,000 cases a year by 2040.

Cancer is the main cause of death among men in France and the second leading cause among women, after cardiovascular disease.

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