Cancer cases in Wales rise by 10% in 10 years

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Sample observed under a microscopeImage source, Thinkstock

The number of cancer cases in Wales has risen by almost 10% over a 10-year period.

There were about 19,000 diagnoses in 2015, compared to about 17,300 in 2006.

Public Health Wales (PHW) said the main reason for the increase was an ageing population.

The organisation's Dr Dyfed Wyn Huws said there was "good news" by way of significant reductions in smoking rates in recent decades.

There was a year-on-year decrease from about 19,800 cases in 2014, but the 2015 figure of 19,088 is likely to increase as statisticians revise the numbers.

Once age factors are taken into account, the rate decreased by more than 5% in men, but increased by more than 5% among women between 2006 and 2015.

This is partly due to the rate of lung cancer going down in men, but up among women. Historically, smoking rates peaked far earlier among men than women.

Breast, prostate, lung and bowel cancers remain the most common.

According to PHW, cases of liver, mouth, throat and melanoma skin cancer saw the biggest percentage increases.

The rates of stomach cancer and prostate cancer decreased, while mesothelioma rates increased by almost a third.

'Four in 10 cancers preventable'

Dr Huws said: "We know that up to four in 10 of cancers in the population may be preventable.

"With an increasing number of cancer cases each year, cancer control is possible and important for future generations and for keeping rising health service demand in check.

"The good news is that we have seen significant reductions in smoking rates in recent decades.

"This is already bringing cancer rates down in men."