More than 9,400 people were diagnosed with a tumor in Malaga province during 2021 / SUR

World Cancer Day: diagnoses return to normal after falling almost 20 per cent during the first year of the pandemic

The Andalusian Society of Medical Oncology highlights the importance of going to the doctor in order to detect cases as early as possible

Ángel Escalera

Cancer diagnoses have returned to normal rates and are similar to what they were before the coronavirus pandemic it has been revealed for World Cancer Day, this Friday (4 February).

Between March 2020 and March 2021 there were 18 per cent fewer cancer diagnoses in Malaga province than in the same period the previous year. That was due to two reasons. One, that people were afraid of getting Covid and did not go to hospitals; two, the health system collapsed in 2020. The rate has returned to normal now that Covid is placing doctors and hospitals under less pressure.

“The fear people had of going to the doctor or to a hospital during Covid has gone. This is beneficial. It means the patient can be diagnosed and treated before the cancer is at an advanced stage,” said the president of the Andalusian Society of Medical Oncology (SAOM), Antonio Rueda, who is head of the medical oncology of the Regional Hospital of Malaga.

More than 9,400 people were diagnosed with a tumour in Malaga province during 2021, according to SAOM’s estimates.

The incidence of new cancer cases continues to increase among the Andalusian population in a slow but steady way, as in the rest of Spain.

“It is very important that the general public, in the face of any doubt, symptom or health problem that they may have, go to their primary care doctor who will assess the case and, if necessary, refer the patient to a specialist so that there is no delay in the diagnosis. There is no need to be afraid because if a tumour is detected early, it can have a very positive impact on the results and on the chances of treatment and survival. If you arrive with a more advanced stage of the disease, the chances are reduced,” added Dr Rueda.

Of the 47,000 Andalusians who were diagnosed with cancer in 2021, approximately 57 per cent were men and 43 per cent women.