European cancer cases rise 10 percent in two years

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cancerDiagnosed cases of cancer rose by 10 percent in Europe over two years, an increase attributable to the continent's ageing population, the effects of smoking and better screening for breast cancer, doctors reported.

In 2006, there were 3.2 million new cases of cancer in 39 European countries, compared with 2.9 million in 2004, they said.

For the first time, breast cancer overtook lung cancer as the commonest diagnosed cancer, with 429,000 new cases in 2006, or nearly one in seven of the total.

It was followed by colorectal cancer, with 412,900 cases, and lung cancer, 386,300 cases.

Lung cancer, though, remains the biggest killer, accounting for 334,800 out of the 1.7 million cancer deaths in Europe in 2006.

It was followed by colorectal cancer (207,400 deaths), breast cancer (131,900) and stomach cancer (118,200).

The report was issued by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), based in Lyon, southeastern France.

"The overwhelming majority of lung cancer is caused by tobacco smoking," said IARC director Peter Boyle.

"Tobacco control is clearly a number one priority in Europe, not only aimed at men, particularly the male populations of Central and Eastern Europe, but increasingly targeted towards women, especially in Northern Europe."

Copyright © 2007 Agence France Presse

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