Health reminds us that prevention, early detection and healthy lifestyles are key in the fight against cancer

Feb 4, 2024 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

This Sunday, 4 February, is World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day is celebrated every year on 4 February, a global day which this year, under the slogan “For fairer care”, invites people to become aware of the importance of prevention, adopting healthy lifestyles, carrying out early detection tests and supporting those who are fighting against this disease.

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Prevention, early detection and healthy lifestyles are key in the fight against cancer

Since 2000, cancer has been the second leading cause of death in Spain after cardiovascular diseases. It represents one of the main public health problems; it generates high health, emotional and social costs and requires a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and coordinated approach.

Thus, the Spanish Network of Cancer Registries (REDECAN) estimates that 286,664 cases will be diagnosed in 2024, which represents an increase of 2.6 % over the previous year. Taking into account men and women, the most frequent cancers are colon and rectum (44,294 new cases), breast (36,395), lung (32,768), prostate (30,316) and urinary bladder (22,097). The most prevalent cancers among men are prostate (30,316), colon and rectum (27,009), lung (22,483) and urinary bladder (18,247). Among women, on the other hand, breast (36,395), colon and rectum (17,285), lung (10,285) and uterine corpus uteri (7,305). In addition, lung cancer among women continues to increase and is attributed to the increase in tobacco addiction among women since the 1970s. Thus, it is striking to note the trend in recent years that lung and bladder cancer is decreasing in men and that lung cancer will continue to rise markedly among women in the years to come.

In general, the causes of this increase are due to population growth, an ageing population and unhealthy habits and lifestyles, such as alcohol, smoking, sedentary lifestyles, obesity and unhealthy eating habits. In addition, the promotion of early detection programmes for breast, colon and rectum and cervical cancer also has an impact on the increase in early detection.

In terms of mortality, there is evidence of a decrease due to improvements in the survival of people diagnosed with a tumour due to the promotion of healthy habits and lifestyles, early detection programmes and new treatments.

In the Balearic Islands, according to data from the Balearic Institute of Statistics (Ibestat), in 2022, 2,420 people died of cancer (948 women and 1,472 men). Among women, and according to their location, those affecting the breast predominated, followed by colon and rectum cancer, and trachea, bronchus and lung cancer in third place. Among men, cancer affects the trachea, bronchus and lung, secondly, colon and rectum, and thirdly, prostate cancer.

Although there are factors related to cancer that cannot be modified, such as age, people can face this disease if they are faithful to the programmes of early detection and monitoring of healthy habits and lifestyles offered by the Regional Ministry of Health.

Prevention and early detection campaign

The cancer prevention campaign launched by the Regional Ministry of Health recalls the importance of following two simple guidelines: healthy habits and attending early detection programmes. Healthy habits are key to reducing the possibility of suffering from the disease and detecting a tumour at an early stage or as a pre-malignant lesion exponentially increases the possibility of curing it.

If the majority of these risk factors were addressed, and by regularly attending early detection programmes, more than a third of all cancers could be avoided and others could be treated early or palliatively. By living a healthy lifestyle, more than 41,000 deaths and 64,800 new cases of cancer could be avoided in Spain.

Incorporating healthy lifestyle habits into daily life, such as maintaining a good diet, physical activity and avoiding tobacco, alcohol or excessive exposure to the sun, contributes to a high percentage of cancer risk reduction.

A major risk factor for many cancers (lung, mouth, larynx, oesophagus, oesophagus, pancreas, stomach, bladder and kidney) is tobacco addiction. In contrast, the benefits of quitting smoking start from day one and, within ten years of quitting, the risk of dying from lung cancer is halved.

On the other hand, an unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, obesity and alcohol consumption are all associated with colorectal, oesophageal, kidney, liver, stomach, breast and endometrial cancers.

In addition, exposure to ultraviolet radiation is linked to an increase in skin cancer and exposure to certain chemicals and radiation to cancers of various kinds.

Early detection programmes

To this end, the Balearic Islands have for years been developing programmes for the early detection of breast cancer and colon and rectum cancer, aimed at the healthy population aged between 50 and 69 ( In addition, it has also developed the EinaSalut programme ( which allows citizens, the communities in which they live, work and interact, and the institutions, to make the best decisions regarding their health.

Moreover, the Cancer Strategy ( of the Directorate General of Public Health of the Regional Ministry of Health joins the European Code Against Cancer in terms of the measures that have proven to be effective in preventing cancer.

  1. Do not smoke. Do not use any tobacco
  2. Make your home smoke-free. Support smoke-free policies in your workplace.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight.
  4. Exercise daily. Limit time spent sitting.
  5. Eat healthily: Eat lots of whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, limit high-calorie foods (high in sugar or fat), avoid sugary drinks, and avoid processed meat, limit red meat and high-salt foods.
  6. Limit alcohol consumption, although it is best for cancer prevention to avoid alcoholic beverages.
  1. Avoid excessive sun exposure, especially for children. Use sunscreen. Do not use UVA booths.
  2. At work, protect yourself from carcinogenic substances by following the instructions of the occupational health and safety protection regulations.
  3. Find out if you are exposed to radiation from naturally high levels of radon in your home and take measures to reduce them.
  4. Make sure that your children participate in vaccination programmes.
  5. Participate in organised cancer screening programmes.