Cancer Survival - A Spanish Study
August 2010 - Research from the Epidemiology Service of the Department of Health and Consumption in Murcia, published in the
Annals of Oncology, assessed the probability of surviving nine types of cancer in eight Spanish regions with the highest numbers of cancer
diagnoses (Basque Country, Navarra, Girona, Tarragona, Castellón, Albacete, Murcia and Granada).
Lead author, María Dolores Chirlaque explained:
"The innovative factor contributed by our work is its relevance to population and measurement of relative survival, which enables
us to discover survival related to cancer in a more precise way."
Researchers evaluated all 57 622 cases of cancer of the breast, lung, colon, rectum, prostate, ovary and testicle, together with
melanoma and Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosed between 1995 and 1999. Subjects were monitored until December 2004.
The study found that Spanish survival figures are under 2 per cent less than the European average for the nine types of cancer
studied. The highest survival rates for most types are recorded by Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland; the lowest by the Czech Republic, Poland and
Within Spain, researchers found the greatest regional differences in lung cancer (12.4 per cent in Navarra compared to 6.1 per cent in
Granada) and the smallest in breast cancer (91.3 per cent in Castellón compared to 81.2 per cent in Albacete).
Other significant findings relate to prognosis:
- Breast cancer, the most common type in women has high survival rates (83 per cent alive after five years).
- Lung cancer is one of the most aggressive tumours, only 10 per cent of patients survive for more than five years.
- Colorectal cancer, the most common type affecting both men and women, has an average survival rate of 50-55 per cent five years after diagnosis.
- Prostate cancer, the most common tumour in men, has an increasingly favourable prognosis, with an overall survival rate of 76 per cent, higher in young adults.
- Ovarian cancer has a very variable five-year survival rate depending on age at diagnosis (70 per cent of those aged 15-44 years compared to 19 per cent over 74 years).
- Testicular cancer has the best prognosis, with a 95 per cent survival rate five years after diagnosis.
- Skin melanoma has one of the highest survival rates (85 per cent) although the study acknowledges better results in other European countries (over 90 per cent).
- Hodgkin's lymphoma also has a variable prognosis depending on age at diagnosis (92 per cent among young people, less than 50 per cent among older patients).
María Dolores Chirlaque commented:
"In the past cancer was considered to be fatal. However, nowadays it has come to be recognised as a curable illness. Testimony to this is the results shown in this study, which indicate that of every four people who suffer from it (with the exception of lung cancer), more than three overcome it."
A report from the American Cancer Society estimates that 2007 saw over 12 million
new cancer cases and 7.6 million cancer deaths (about 20,000 a day) worldwide. Of these, 5.4 million cases and 2.9
million deaths occurred in economically developed countries, compared to 6.7 million cases and 4.7 million deaths in
Very high doses of
antioxidant polyphenols (commonly found in red wine, fruits, vegetables, and green tea) shut down and prevented
cancerous tumors by inhibiting new blood vessel formation. Conversely, at relatively low doses they play a beneficial
role in cardiac and circulatory diseases by facilitating blood vessel growth.
New developments in breast cancer imaging, timing of chemotherapy, and vaccine research
may offer innovative non-surgical interventions resulting in significant changes to current screening and treatment
practice and improvements in patient care.
Women with breast cancer who are obese, less educated or have lower household
incomes may be more likely to receive reduced doses of chemotherapy thereby jeopardizing their survival.
New research suggests that significant differences in cancer rates between northern and southern
Europeans may be explained by the anti-cancer effects of olive oil in the diet.
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy administered concurrently after
lumpectomy helps prevent local reoccurrence of breast cancer.
A joint initiative between computer scientists at the University of Edinburgh and cellular biologists at the
Riken Genomic Research Centre in Japan may result in improved drug treatments for breast cancer sufferers that
will also minimize side effects.