Expatica news

Belgium doing well in fighting cancer

25 May 2007

BRUSSELS – Patients in Belgium have a better survival rate for many common cancers than elsewhere in the EU. The flipside however is that these cancers are remarkably more common in Belgium than elsewhere.

Pharma.be, the umbrella organisation for the pharmaceutical industry, published comparative figures in the Belgian Journal of Medicine (Artsenkrant) on Friday. There are markedly more cases of lung, breast and prostate cancer in Belgium. Aside from genetic factors, environmental reasons are also often cited as causes for these cancers.

Pharma.be pointed out a third reason why these cancers are more frequent: the excellent cancer-detection practices in Belgium. The faster cancer is detected, the better it can be treated. The percentage of patients surviving after five years of treatment is systematically higher in Belgium than in 22 other countries.

This is also true in comparison to Belgium’s nearest neighbours, where on average only 50 percent or less of patients survive after five years. The average survival rate in Belgium after five years of treatment is 55.6 percent. In France and Germany that percentage is 50.7 percent, in the Netherlands 47.6 percent and the UK 40.6 percent.

Lung cancer is a problematic case, but even so in comparison with neighbouring countries only France has a better survival rate: 13.4 percent compared to 12.5 percent in Belgium after five years.

The Netherlands does slightly better when it comes to cervical cancer survival rates: 69.5 percent compared to 68.4 percent in Belgium.

More than half of Belgian patients with cancer of the large intestine and rectum survive at least five years: 57 percent. And more than four in five survive breast cancer (82 percent) and prostate cancer (85 percent).

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news