Health. Prostate cancers will rise sharply, study warns

Health.  Prostate cancers will rise sharply, study warns

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Prostate cancers will increase significantly in the coming years worldwide, particularly in less wealthy countries, estimate models published in The Lancetwho explain this trend by the predictable aging of the population.

“According to our conclusions, the annual number of new cases will double from 1.4 million in 2020 to 2.9 million in 2040,” summarize the authors of this study published Thursday, carried out by extrapolating demographic changes already observed at the moment. current.

Life expectancy, a major question

This progression could be explained by “the increase in life expectancy and by changes in the age pyramids”, the authors argue.

Prostate cancer, which is the most common in men – 15% of all male cancers – actually occurs over the age of 50 in most cases. And its frequency increases sharply the older we advance beyond this threshold.

However, a large number of poor or developing countries are in the process of partially catching up with their life expectancy gap compared to their developed counterparts, which should mechanically increase the number of prostate cancers.

An increase that cannot be avoided

And “unlike other major problems, such as lung cancer or cardiovascular diseases, we will not be able to avoid this increase in cases through public health policies,” note the researchers.

Indeed, the risk factors for prostate cancer – heredity, tall size, etc. – are much less preventable than, for example, smoking for lung cancer. Only a link with excess weight has been established, but it is unclear whether there is a cause and effect mechanism.

More diagnostics

The authors of the study nevertheless believe that it is possible to limit the increase in prostate cancer through different actions.

For example, they advocate aiming for earlier diagnoses in less wealthy countries, noting that prostate cancers are often detected there too late to act effectively.

On the other hand, they warn of the risk of “overdiagnosis and overtreatment” in developed countries.

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