There are a range of different kinds of cancer, where the cells in particular tissues of our body become diseased and divide, growing uncontrollably and killing the tissue. Although there are treatments available, some cancers can be fatal.
While anyone can be at risk of cancer (though some are almost exclusively gender specific, such as breast cancer, prostate cancer or cervical cancer), some cancers may have particular risk factors, such as ultraviolet exposure from the sun or smoking.
Across the world, it was estimated that there were 18.1 million cancer cases on Earth in 2020,1 or 231.43 per 100,000 people across the globe.
We wanted to see if there were particular areas across the plane that had higher incidence rates or risk factors that could make them a ‘cancer hotspot’. To do this, we’ve collated more than just cancer rates data. We also looked at specific cancers like lung cancer and melanoma, as well as smoking prevalence and UV radiation, both of which are risk factors for lung cancer and skin cancer respectively. Indexing these figures together gives us a way of looking at the data that weighs and compares different factors, combining them into one overall ranking for 153 different countries – the 35 worst of which are listed below.
When we indexed all these factors together, France was ranked at the top of our cancer hotspots index. This is because France had very high scores across multiple factors. The European nation had the fourth-highest rate of breast cancer (99.1 per 100,000), the fifth-highest rate of prostate cancer (99 per 100,000), the eighth-highest incidence rate of lung cancer (34.9 per 100,000), and the ninth-highest incidence rate from all cancers (341.9 per 100,000). It also was 15th for smoking prevalence (33.4% of the population) – all of this out of 153 countries.
Europe itself is a cancer hotspot, with nine of the 10 highest ranking nations being European. Hungary was ranked second overall, but also had the highest rate of lung cancer out of all nations, with 50.1 per 100,000 people having the diagnosis. Hungary was also right behind France in cancer rate per capita for all cancers with a rate of 338.2 per 100,000 people. The third-highest ranking country was Croatia, which had the seventh-highest cancer mortality rate (133.3 per 100,000 people) and eighth-largest smoking population.