Summary of avoidable cancers in the Nordic countries
An overview is given of the most important known causes of cancer in the five Nordic countries and the resulting number of cancers that are potentially avoidable. The main causes include active and passive smoking, alcohol consumption, exposure to asbestos and other occupational carcinogens, solar and ionizing radiation, obesity, human papillomavirus infection in the female genital tract and infection with Helicobacter pylori. The organs most commonly affected are those of the respiratory system, the upper digestive tract and stomach, skin, the lower urinary tract and the uterine cervix. Annually, more than 18,000 cancers in men and 11,000 in women in the Nordic populations could be avoided by eliminating exposure to known carcinogens which is equivalent to 33% and 20% of all cancers arising in men and women, respectively, around the year 2000. Smoking habits account for a little more than half of these avoidable cases. Estimates of avoidable cancers are given for each Nordic country, separately.
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