World Cancer Day 2024 – statement by Regional Director, Dr Hans Kluge

World Cancer Day 2024

Don't cut European health budgets, warns Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe

1 February 2024

Ahead of World Cancer Day (4 February), the World Health Organization's cancer agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, has released the latest estimates of the global burden of cancer, including a snapshot from the European Region, comprising 53 countries in Europe and Central Asia (see attached factsheet). 

Looking at current and projected trends, WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, said: 

“New data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer reveals that the WHO European Region will see a 38% increase in new cancer cases by 2045. The deadliest cancers for men in our region are lung, colorectum and prostate, while women most often die from breast, lung or colorectum cancers.

“Worryingly, our analysis finds that cancer is deadlier in lower-middle-income countries compared to high-income countries, which shines a spotlight on the many health inequities that still persist in our region.

“At a time when health financing is coming under increasing pressure across Europe, we risk undoing decades of progress to improve the health and wellbeing of millions of people. With 1 in 4 people in the European Region at risk of developing cancer in their lifetime, this is not the time to slash the EU health budget. Diagnosis, treatment and survival should not depend on where you are born or how much income you earn. Beating cancer has to be a whole-of-society endeavour, bringing together all parts of the health system across the entire care pathway.

“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, my message to everyone – politicians and citizens alike – is that we need more, not less, health.”

Interactive data dashboards available here  

Global press release available here


Tina Kiaer, 

Bhanu Bhatnagar, 

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