STOCKHOLM, Nov. 17, 2017 -- The number of people in southern Sweden who are diagnosed with cancer increased by almost three percent in 2016, with skin cancer rates representing the highest rise.
On average, around 240 people receive a cancer diagnosis every week in the southern Sweden region, Maria Rejmyr Davis, the stand-in head of the Southern Sweden Regional Cancer Center, told Swedish Television on Thursday.
"Swedish cancer care is struggling with a lack of resources. The number of patients is growing at the same time as treatment options are widening," said Rejmyr Davis. "The investment in so-called standardized care means more people now undergo scans for suspected cancers."
These conditions mean that the cancer detection rate is growing and the rise in skin cancer cases continues to be high. There were 8.9 percent more cases in 2016 compared to the year before. Malignant melanoma, which is the most common form of skin cancer, increased by 6.5 percent in 2016 compared to 2015.
At the same time, breast cancer rates went down while prostate cancer remains the most common form of cancer in the region. Bjorn Ohlsson, a medical adviser at the Southern Sweden Regional Cancer Center, said an aging population and exposure to the sun are the main reason behind the rising figures.
"It's about accumulation over time. Sun habits that we had 20 years ago may result in skin cancer today," said Ohlsson, who also stressed the importance of early diagnoses and healthy lifestyles.
"We know that a large share of cancers can be prevented by giving up smoking, eating well, exercising, sunbathing less, and carrying out controls for early cancer detection. Several hundreds lives could be saved in southern Sweden alone," said Ohlsson.