"There is both good and bad news about cancer in Europe, said Dr. Peter Boyle of the European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy, at the 1997 European Cancer Conference. One welcome development is the large decrease in the incidence of stomach cancer in all parts of Europe, but unfortunately, the increasing age of the European Union (EU) population is linked with an increasing number of cases of cancer in total, with large increases in the incidence of Hodgkins lymphoma and malignant melanoma. In the next 15 years the proportion of people age 65 or over is likely to rise from 15% to 17%, a rise that will be matched by a similar fall in the 15 to 64 age group.
Levels of lung cancer and other smoking related cancers are high and still increasing, particularly in central and eastern Europe, continued Dr. Boyle. An epidemic of lung cancer is threatening women in southern Europe and this will pose a major problem for health services in coming decades.
Dr. Boyle makes a strong call to action: With our current knowledge, we could eliminate at least half of all cancers. We need to take practical steps to do this, rather than just discuss it.