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One in five cancer patients in Spain are undiagnosed due

to the Covid-19 pandemic

, so oncologists fear the arrival of more advanced tumors in the health system, with fewer therapeutic options and greater commitment to survival, as highlighted this Monday the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) that recommended these people not to be afraid to go to consultations.

The president of SEOM, Dr. Álvaro Rodríguez-Lescure, assured that "it is essential to guarantee the continuity of care, diagnosis, and treatment of serious non-Covid diseases, such as cancer, to avoid excess mortality from these diseases ".

This was revealed during the online presentation of the report

'Cancer figures in Spain 2021'

, published by this scientific society, in collaboration with the Spanish Network of Cancer Registries (Redecan), with the data provided by its registries and by the different sources: Global Cancer Observatory (CGO), International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Institute of Statistics (INE) and Globocan-2020.

Dr. Rodríguez-Lescure stated that around one in five people with cancer are not diagnosed by the pandemic, which is 20%.

Due to Covid-19, "the patients who are within the healthcare circuit have undergone a readjustment to an exceptional situation, and from the Oncology Services we have prioritized telephone assistance and we have adjusted treatments to minimize risks".

"The problem lies in those future patients who are out of the system and who

are in limbo

because the delays in cancer diagnoses have a very negative impact on the results and on the options and opportunities we have for treatments to affect the survival and palliation ".

For this reason, the president of the SEOM stressed that with a lower diagnosis rate, "we are concerned about whether the tumors will arrive in more advanced stages, or if they will arrive."

Therefore, there is a need to allocate the necessary resources, both human and technical, technological and diagnostic, to avoid delays in new cases of cancer and loss of opportunity for cure in cancer patients.

Cancer cases

The estimates made by Redecan and SEOM in this report are based on data prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Based on this premise, we know that the number of new cancer cases will increase in the coming years. To the continuous increase in new cases that we have verified, we must add the

delay of 21% of new undiagnosed cases during the first wave of the pandemic

", agreed the president of SEOM and Redecan, Dr. Jaume Galcerán.

In 2021 there will be

276,239 new cases

(158,867 new in men and 117,372 in women).

One of the main reasons for this continuous increase in incidence in women, as was already reflected in the 2019 report, is the increase in the number of lung cancer cases, which has become the third tumor with the highest incidence in women, after breast and colorectal, due to tobacco use.

In addition, an increase in the incidence of the other tobacco-related tumors, such as those of the oral cavity and pharynx or the urinary bladder, is expected.

The data for Spain are similar to those for neighboring countries.

Although it should be noted that in Europe estimates indicate that mortality from lung cancer in women is higher than mortality from breast cancer since 2016. Although these data have not been observed in Spain, the president of SEOM, stressed that "

mortality from lung cancer in women continues with an upward trend

, due to the incorporation of women to the smoking habit from the 70-80 years ".

Obesity and cancer

Dr. Rodríguez-Lescure announced that "today we already have enough evidence to causally associate obesity with at least nine types of cancer - breast, uterus, colon, kidney, gallbladder, pancreas, rectum, esophagus and ovary - and to know that its impact on the incidence is around

450,000 cases of cancer per year in the world

. Therefore, it is important to take measures to avoid obesity ".

The most frequent cancers diagnosed in Spain in 2021 in men will be prostate (35,764 new cases), colorectal (25,678), lung (21,578) and bladder (16,578).

They are followed far behind by cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx (5,725), liver (5,039), kidney (5,003), non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (4,897), and cancers of the pancreas (4,571) and stomach (4,506).

In women, the most diagnosed will be breast (33,375) and colorectal (17,903) and lung cancer (7,971) is in third place, followed by cervical cancer (6,923).

It should be noted that an increase in the incidence of other tumors related to tobacco, such as those of the oral cavity and pharynx or urinary bladder, is expected in women.

At a global level, cancer constitutes one of the main causes of mortality in the world, with approximately 9.9 million deaths related to tumors in 2020. In Spain the estimate is 113.00 deaths from cancer in 2020.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

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