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Cancer incidence rates in Turkey above world average, below Europe: Oncology professor

Published on 11 April 2018 back to previous

Cancer incidence rates in Turkey are “somewhat” above the world average, but below that of European countries, the head of Turkish Society of Medical Oncology, Prof. Dr. Mahmut Gümüş, has said.

The renowned professor also said the incidence rates for cancer among males is 15-20 percent above the rate for women in the country.

Previous searches conducted in Turkey show lung cancer is the most widely seen type of cancer among males, whereas breast cancer is the most widely seen among women.

Other widely seen types of cancer among males in the country are prostate cancer, colon cancer and gastric cancer, whereas lung cancer and colon cancer are seen among women.

According to Gümüş, there is an overall increase in cancer incidence rates both in Turkey and the western world.

“The only reason for this is because our population is aging. Our country still has a young population average, compared to western societies. So, it is natural to link the low cancer rates to the [young population] taking into account that half of cancer cases start to be seen above the ages of 60-65,” he said.

“Naturally, environmental factors and an increase in cancer detection awareness has especially led to a rise in cancer incidence rates. But, the basic cause of the increase [in the rates] is the aging of the population. In summary, we can talk about an increase [in cancer incidence rates over the years], but it’s wrong to talk about a boom [in numbers],” the professor added.

According to data from the World Health Organization, more than 14 million people are diagnosed with various types of cancer. Smoking and obesity account for more than half of cancer incidents in the world, with other reasons cited as a lack of movement, alcohol, too much exposure to sunlight, unhealthy diet and air pollution.

Chemotherapy has been indicated for many years to be an effective way to treat many types of cancer, but due to its side effects and limitations, it has also been exposed to various criticism.

“It is early to talk about whether chemotherapy is unnecessary or not,” but immunotherapy, which uses the body’s own immune system to help fight cancer, will play the “main role” in treatment in the upcoming years, said Gümüş.

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