In France, the number of cancers has doubled since 1990

Home In France, the number of cancers has doubled since 1990
Written by Doug Hampton

Public Health France notes that women are increasingly exposed.

This Tuesday, July 4, Public Health France publishes the results of a study on cases of cancer in France.

Between 1990 and 2023, i.e. in less than a quarter of a century, their number has doubled in France. And since the start of this year, the number of new cases stands at 433,000.

Study on 19 most common cancers

The study, conducted in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (Inca), the network of cancer registries Francim and the biostatistics-bioinformatics department of the Hospices Civils de Lyon (HCL), sets the median age of diagnosis at 70. years for men, and 68 years for women for 2023.

The statistical work focused on 19 most common cancers and invasive tumours. More specifically, the increase between 1990 and 2023 is 98% for men and 104% for women.

Behavior and lifestyles play a role

Admittedly, this strong increase stems from the fact that the population is growing and aging. But the researchers note that the risk relating to behaviors and lifestyles also increases.

And among women, these changes in demographics only explain 50% of the increase in the incidence of new cancers, which is much less the case among men.

The difference between men and women

How to explain a higher incidence among women now? Dr. Florence Molinié, president of Francim, explained during a press conference:

The major factor is tobacco consumption, which has increased from certain generations of women after those of men.

Still other differences, pointed out by the specialist:

For men, there are many rather favorable developments, except for skin melanoma, pancreatic and kidney cancers which continue to increase. For women, the evolutions are unfavorable for more locations.

Half of cancers preventable

Still in women, the incidence of cancers resulting in part from tobacco consumption “increased considerably”, write the authors of the study. And it is in retreat in man.

And if cancer mortality is decreasing thanks to advances in medicine and more pronounced early diagnosis, “nearly half of cancers could be avoided through changes in our behaviors and lifestyles”notes the Inca. Physical inactivity, obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, ultraviolet exposure are among these “avoidable causes”.

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