The number of people being diagnosed with cancer by 2040 in EU and EFTA countries is estimated to increase by 21% compared to 2020, according to JRC experts who studied the impact of population aging on the future cancer burden.
The experts also estimate that population ageing will lead to a big increase in the number of people dying from cancer of 32% by 2040, compared to 2020.
The estimates, which have just been published on the European Cancer Information System, were computed by evaluating the impact of population ageing in the countries, assuming that 2020 cancer incidence and mortality levels will remain constant in the coming decades.
Cancer disproportionately affects older people. A 60% share of the estimated new diagnoses and 73% of estimated deaths in 2020 occurred in persons aged 65 or older.
The rate at which the overall population is expected to grow by 2040 (by three million, or 0.6% compared to 2020) is considerably slower than the increase in cancer cases and deaths. This suggests that, due to population ageing, the burden of cancer on patients, families and society as a whole is going to get bigger in the years ahead.
The evaluation of the long-term burden of cancer on health systems, economies and societies is crucial for policy planning as it can help to anticipate increases in demand for services (like diagnosis, treatment and aftercare) as well as the need for more ambitious actions on health promotion, prevention and screening.
Publication date: 16 March 2022
Author: Joint Research Centre
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