Some 4,700 people were diagnosed with cancer in Córdoba during 2022, according to estimates by the Andalusian Society of Medical Oncology (SAOM) and the Andalusian Society of Cancerology (SAC) based on population registries, which indicate the research -to continue advancing in new treatments- and prevention -to avoid the main risk factors that favor the development of some of the most frequent tumors- as two of the main measures to continue promoting in the coming years to curb the growth of cancer in our society.
With these premises, together with a message of optimism and hope for people who have this disease, the SAOM and the SAC, which are the two scientific societies that represent Andalusian medical oncologists and radiotherapy oncologists, want to join the World Day Against Cancer, which will be held tomorrow, February 4, highlighting the latest advances being made in therapies, cancer research and improving the quality of care for patients in Andalusia, while also insisting on the need to continue betting on scientific innovation, prevention and social awareness to curb the incidence and mortality from cancer.
In Andalusia, it is expected that between 48,000 and 49,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer during the year 2023, according to estimates based on population registries, a figure that shows the stabilization trend in diagnoses compared to the increase experienced last year. Diagnostic activity has allowed patients to enter the cancer care circuit in less advanced stages of cancer and have been treated with the most innovative and appropriate therapies for their disease.
However, the forecast is that the number of new cancer cases will continue to increase in the future, taking into account various factors, such as advances in diagnostic and early detection techniques, population growth, ageing, the increase of life expectancy or exposure to different risk factors (tobacco, alcohol, pollution, sedentary lifestyle or inadequate diet, among others).
Men and women
Of the Andalusians diagnosed with cancer in 2022, approximately 57% were men and 43% women, and in this year 2023 it is estimated that this proportion will be maintained, in which more than 279,000 new cases of cancer are expected in Spain. In Andalusia, the incidence and prevalence figures are similar to the national and European ones, and the tumors that will be most diagnosed this year, as in the rest of Spain, will be those of the colon and rectum, breast, lung, and prostate, adding both sexes. In the case of men, the most frequent will be those of the prostate, colon and rectum, lung, and urinary bladder; while, in women, the most frequent will be those of the breast, colon and rectum, and lung.
Regarding mortality, cancer continues to be one of the main causes of death in Andalusia and Spain, and in 2021 it represented the second reason for death (25.2% of deaths nationwide), according to the National Institute of Statistics ( INE), behind diseases of the circulatory system and ahead of infectious diseases (including COVID-19). In men, tumors continued to be the main cause of death, while in women it was the second cause of death, after cardiovascular diseases.
most frequent deaths
Among deaths from cancer, the most frequent were those of the lung, colon, pancreas, breast and prostate. However, cancer mortality in Spain has experienced a sharp decline in recent decades, with improvements in patient survival due to prevention activities and early diagnosis, and therapeutic advances.
“Oncologists want to remember that it is very important that those people who have doubts, symptoms or a health problem, consult their Primary Care doctor to assess it and, if necessary, refer it so that its diagnosis is as early as possible. possible. A tumor that is detected early has a much better chance of treatment, cure and survival in patients, and also a better quality of life”, says Dr. Ana Laura Ortega, president of the Andalusian Society of Medical Oncology (SAOM). and Dr. Ismael Herruzo Cabrera, president of the Andalusian Society of Cancerology (SAC), who also have an impact on prevention and risk factors as a key tool to avoid a good part of cancer cases.
“Tobacco, alcohol, certain infections, a sedentary lifestyle, an inadequate diet (obesity), and unprotected exposure to the sun, are the main risk factors for a tumor that we can avoid, and if we do, it would be reduced by 30% diagnoses and mortality. For this reason, we must insist on raising awareness in society about prevention and developing a healthy lifestyle,” they state.
Survival and early diagnosis
In fact, the survival of cancer patients in Andalusia and Spain is similar to that of neighboring countries, and has doubled in the last 40 years, with a forecast that it will continue to grow progressively in the coming years. . 55% of men and almost 62% of women with cancer in Andalusia will manage to overcome them thanks to early diagnosis techniques, and the latest advances and oncological treatments, such as immunotherapy, or targeted personalized therapies.
“Medical Oncology is at a time of great advances and these treatments have led to an increase in survival and an improvement in the quality of life of people with cancer. It is increasingly a precision medicine, with personalized treatments for the patient thanks to the identification of biomarkers that make possible therapies that were previously unfeasible The approach to cancer and the possibilities of prevention, diagnosis and treatment continue to grow each year in our community, so that many people will manage to overcome cancer, with a quality In addition, the Medical Oncology services in Andalusia are participating in numerous clinical trials and research projects to make the latest treatments, therapies and drugs available to cancer patients”, says the president of SAOM.
The president of SAC highlights that “with the modern radiation equipment used, treatment is possible in all stages of cancer. In the case of early and localized stages, treatment with radiotherapy allows preserving the organ where the tumor is located and protect the surrounding tissues to the maximum, in many cancers, with the same or greater chance of survival.These new technologies, widely implemented in Andalusia, allow the electron accelerator equipment to administer treatments with much greater precision and fewer side effects (modulated intensity , IMRT and VMAT, image-guided RT systems, IGRT) One of these techniques is stereotaxic body radiotherapy (SBRT), which makes it possible to treat lesions in different organs with improved local control and survival. proton therapy equipment in the near future.The greater precision and personalization of the therapy is a characteristic of all radiotherapy treatments, which is used in more than 60% of cancer patients, and which significantly contributes to cure in more than 40% of patients.”
These advances in treatment by Medical Oncology and Radiotherapy undoubtedly contribute to increasing survival and improving the quality of life of people with cancer in our autonomous community.
The numbers of medical oncologists and radiation oncologists in our community are very adjusted to the needs of professionals from both specialties, and given the forecast of new cases in the coming years, the greater survival of patients, and the greater specialization due to technological advances. , the training and incorporation of new specialists in Medical Oncology and Radiotherapy is key to maintaining the quality of care in Andalusia.
For this reason, and within the framework of the World Day in the fight against Cancer, the SAOM and the SAC have wanted to send a positive message for people with cancer, highlighting the advances and novelties that are being developed in treatments, research and improvement of the quality of care for patients at a general level, and of the oncological excellence of the Andalusian community, thanks to the very important advances that lead us towards precision medicine and an increasingly personalized treatment of the patient, with a better quality of life, emphasize the presidents of the SAOM and the SAC.
Both presidents insist that it is necessary to continue investing in research, early diagnosis and prevention as strategic pillars to consolidate the latest advances in the field of oncology and cancer treatment, together with the promotion of other aspects, such as the improvement of comprehensive patient care, a multidisciplinary approach and a commitment to humanization throughout the process that cancer patients go through.
“We are positive and we must look to the future with enthusiasm, because there are reasons for it. We have made a lot of progress in recent decades and we are convinced that we will continue to do so in the coming years with the joint work between professionals, Administration, patients, industry and society in general”, they conclude.