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Where to live longer in Europe with cancer
Medical progress means that cancer patients in Europe are getting older. If you look at the chances of surviving with this disease, people in Germany have a more favorable prognosis than in most other European countries. People diagnosed with cancer live an average of five years longer in Germany than in any other country in Europe.
The cancer survival rate in particular acts as an important yardstick when assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of health systems. In order to identify differences in the health systems of the individual countries, scientists analyzed the data of around ten million Europeans who were diagnosed with cancer in the period from 2000 to 2007. The focus was on 46 cancers, which were weighted according to age and country. The scientists were interested in the "5-year survival rate". Their results were published in the British journal "The Lancet Oncology".
It was shown that cancer patients in Eastern European countries have much lower chances of survival than in most other countries in Western Europe. Colon cancer was still living in Germany over 62 percent five years after the initial diagnosis. This value is the highest in a European comparison. In Latvia, on the other hand, according to the findings, only 43 percent of the patients experienced ill over the same period. Germany is also doing well in terms of breast cancer survival. According to the study, 84 percent of women still lived with their diagnosis within the first five years. For comparison: in the Eastern European countries it was 74 percent. These are values that can be viewed positively by those affected. In contrast, lung cancer patients had poor prospects. Only 16 percent of patients in Germany were still alive after five years.
Eastern European patients have worse prognoses It is obvious that patients from Eastern Europe had worse prognoses than Western European cancer patients. But the differences are nowhere near as serious as they were two decades ago. Overall, Europe is on a positive path, says study director Roberta De Angelis from the National Health Institute in Rome. "This reflects the progress in cancer screening and treatment." The differences result from the different levels of expenditure by the countries for health care. "Countries where the state put more money into the health care system had an average higher chance of survival than countries that spent less," write the scientists. But it is not only government spending that has an impact on life expectancy. The social and economic factors of the individual countries are also fundamental. Education and general lifestyle also played a role in health assessment.
Despite the generally better prognoses, patients did not have a greater chance of survival in all western European countries. The UK, Ireland and Denmark underperformed most Europeans for most cancers. The scientist suspects that this is mainly due to diagnoses made too late. This shows the effects of savings in the healthcare system, which can also be seen in preventive examinations and prevention campaigns. In the UK, only 17 percent of gastric cancer patients lived five years after the finding and in Denmark it was only 16 percent. At 31 percent, the proportion of survivors in Germany was almost twice as high. The European average here was 25.1 percent. (fr)
Image: Rainer Sturm / pixelio.de