Cancer statistics in France

The key facts and figures

A decline in mortality

One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer by the time they are 85. In 2015, 385,000 new cases of cancer were recorded in mainland France. The breakdown was as follows: 211,000 new cases in men (average age of 68) and 174,000 cases in women (average age of 67).

The incidence of cancer in men dropped by 1.3% a year between 2005 and 2012 (following a drop in the incidence of prostate cancer), however, it rose by 0.2% a year in women. Mortality also decreased over the same period. Male mortality decreased by 2.9% and female mortality by 1.4%. 149,500 people died of cancer: 84,100 men at a median age of 73 and 65,400 women at a median age of 77.

The progress made in treating the disease increases the likelihood of being cured

In France, three million people have survived cancer, i.e. two in three people. The likelihood of surviving the disease has doubled in 45 years. However, a good, medium or poor prognosis depends greatly upon the organ in question and how far developed the disease is when diagnosed.

25% of those in remission have to contend with the side effects of cancer treatment (disability, fertility problems and edema [fluid retention] in the lower limbs).

The positive results of public health policy

Some cancers are decreasing, following active public health policies (prevention, screening and funding for research) and a drop in some individual risky behaviors (such as a drop in the number of men who smoke). For instance, stomach cancer was the leading cause of death in the 1950s, but its incidence has plummeted following a drop in the amount of salty and smoked foodstuffs being consumed. Other forms of cancer are on the increase, such as pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, melanoma and breast cancer in women in the 30-50 age bracket.

The most common cancers among men

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, well ahead of lung cancer and bowel cancer.
Over 50,000 new cases are recorded every year.
With an estimated 21,326 deaths in 2012, lung cancer is by far the most fatal cancer for men (although incidence is stable), well ahead of bowel cancer (9,275 deaths) and prostate cancer (8,876 deaths).

The most common cancers among women

Breast cancer leads the incidence and mortality tables for women, with 54,062 new cases and 11,913 deaths in 2015. In terms of morbidity, breast cancer comes in well ahead of lung cancer (8,623 deaths) and bowel cancer (8,447 deaths). The increase in the number of women who smoke has quadrupled the incidence of lung cancer, even though it remains a lot less common than among men.

The cost of cancer in France

In 2011, the state health insurance scheme spent €14.5 billion on treating cancer patients. This equates to average expenditure of €10,000 per patient per year.


Le Monde, Les chiffres des principaux cancers décortiqués

Institut Curie, Le coût estimé du cancer en Europe

Le Figaro, Les français sous-estiment le taux de guérison des cancers

Institut National du Cancer, Les chiffres du cancer en France

Institut National du Cancer, Survie des personnes atteintes de cancer en France métropolitaine 1989-2013

Sciences et Avenir, Cancer : des chances de survie doublées en 40 ans

Info Cancer, Les taux de guérison

Institut de Veille Sanitaire, Les cancers

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