IKNL: 1 in 13 people in the Netherlands will be diagnosed with cancer by 2032

IKNL: 1 in 13 people in the Netherlands will be diagnosed with cancer by 2032

A new report published by the Comprehensive Cancer Centre of the Netherlands (IKNL) has revealed that the number of people being treated for cancer will rise significantly over the next 10 years, and that by 2032 more than 26 people will be diagnosed with cancer every hour. 

Number of cancer cases in the Netherlands to rise sharply

The IKNL study examined the effects of an ageing population and unhealthy lifestyles on the overall health of the population of the Netherlands, and found that the number of people who have or have had cancer will rise from 800.000 in 2022 to a shocking 1,4 million by 2032, or approximately one in every 13 people.

While 56.000 people were diagnosed with cancer in 1989, by 2019 this had risen to 118.000. The IKNL predicts that by 2032, this figure will reach 156.000. This figure, however, does not include a number of cancers, including basal cell carcinoma (a common and treatable form of skin cancer) and DCIS (a pre-cancerous stage of breast cancer). If these diagnoses are taken into account, in 10 years time more than 26 people will be diagnosed with cancer every hour. 

The IKNL has also noted how this sharp increase will affect the cost of healthcare in the Netherlands and the workload of healthcare staff. By 2032, the Dutch healthcare system’s budget for cancer treatment will rise from 6,5 billion a year to over 14 billion. 

Dutch Cancer Centre calls on government to take preventative action

Cases of skin cancer are expected to rise significantly over the next 10 years, although the IKNL does note that the survival rates of cancers such as melanoma and basal cell carcinoma are now between 90 and 100 percent. While some cancers are more easily treatable, others - such as adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus and cancer of the liver, which are typically associated with obesity - continue to have especially low survival rates.

The report raises concerns about a number of unhealthy lifestyle choices that are made in the Netherlands, notably alcohol consumption, unhealthy diets, lack of exercise and smoking. "Cancer often manifests itself when you are over 70," Valery Lemmens, principal researcher at IKNL and professor at Erasmus University, tells NOS. "But the way you've lived affects your risk profile. You can hardly turn back a life filled with cigarettes and alcohol."

Lemmers is calling on the Dutch government and other organisations to preventative measures, such as raising taxes on alcohol and banning cigarettes, to encourage people to make healthier life choices. "If everyone starts to exercise a little more, drinks less alcohol, and spends less time in the sun, that will save thousands of diagnoses per year," he told RTL Nieuws.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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