Cancer deaths in Malta on the up

How many zeros are there in a trillion? This is not a trick question. The answer is interesting since it shows the global impact of Cancer on our lives. The economic cost of cancer is one trillion (that is 12 zeros) euros each year. This cost comes from various sources: loss of productivity, loss of family income, healthcare costs, cost of disability and premature death and reduced quality of life.

With 622 activities happening worldwide on the 4th February, one can say that Cancer awareness is considerable. In Malta, the incidence of cancer is on the rise. From 1,500 in 2007, the number of cancer diagnoses has crept up to 2,000 in 2016. The deaths have risen proportionally, approximately one death in every four is due to cancer of some sort, and the gender balance shows that cancer is not interested in whether you are a male or a female. Cancer, however, is a greater risk if you live in a low- or middle-income country. Data published by the World Cancer Awareness Day organisation shows that 70% of cancer deaths occur in these countries which have little or no access to radio therapy. These countries also benefit from only 5% or world resources for prevention.

Lifestyle cancers are the biggest killers

Among all the cancers and lymphomas, pancreatic, liver and lung cancers are the biggest killers. The five-year survival rate from these cancers ranges between the 7-15% and, according to specialists, lifestyle changes may help to prevent these insidious types of cancer. Indeed, silent and largely undetectable until in an advanced stage, These three types of cancers are linked to smoking and alcohol consumption. At the other end of the spectrum, breast cancer (in men and women and prostate cancer have the highest five-year survival rate – in the high 90s percentile.