by Irene Taylor
THE Balearics is the region with the highest incidence of non-lethal skin cancer (carcinoma) in the world, with more than 850 cases detected last year, according to Teresa Martorell, president of the Spanish Association of the Fight Against Cancer.
Speaking on World Cancer Day yesterday, she said that the Balearics also has first place for cancer of the bladder.
Martorell said that last year a total of 3'425 new cases of cancer were detected, 1'952 in men and 1'473 in women.
The number of deaths was more than 500 women and 867 men.
Twenty-five per cent of the men and 28.5 per cent of the women were diagnosed with skin cancer, Martorell said, and more than 57 per cent of the cases were diagnosed in people over the age of 60.
But, she added, the lethal form of skin cancer (melanoma) was the cause of only 12 deaths.
The most frequent cancers found in the islands were lung cancer in men and breast cancer in women, as well as cancer of the colon in both sexes.
The Balearics has more cases of cancer of the colon than the national average.
However, it is lung cancer which causes most deaths, both in men and women.
Martorell went on to say that most cancers are associated with three external factors: tobacco, abuse of alcohol and poor nutrition.
But despite the shocking figures, Martorell also said that the number of deaths from cancer was dropping, thanks to “early detection, which is the number one objective.” Martorell manned one of the collection tables set up in Palma yesterday and said that by the end of the day, they expected to have collected 90'000 euros. “This is the association's chief source of finance, and lets us carry out more projects aimed at reducing cancer.” The money will also be used for research and campaigns for prevention and early diagnosis, which are the best ways of preventing deaths.
Part of the money will also be used for financing psychological and social aid for cancer patients, and to run a flat in Palma, for low-income families from Minorca, Ibiza or Formentera, who have to travel frequently to Majorca for treatment.