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Thousands can develop undetected cancer

Thousands can develop undetected cancer

The National Council on Health and Care notes a clear decrease in the number of cancer cases during the pandemic.

In total, just over 62,500 people were affected by cancer in 2020, which is 3,700 less than the average of the previous three years. Fewer tumors were also recorded, just over 68,000 in 2020, compared to about 72,000.

Our assessment is that this is not because there are fewer people with cancer, but there are likely to be many more people walking around with cancer without even knowing it, says Ulrika Schraried Kajstrom, Secretary General of the Cancer Foundation.

“Very annoying”

During the pandemic, people have avoided seeking care so as not to unnecessarily burden health care, or they did not want to seek out for fear of contracting the virus.

But various scanning programs have also been paused or changed. This can be seen in the numbers for prostate cancer, where the number of men getting a diagnosis fell 17 percent, and breast cancer, where cases fell by 6 percent among women.

Now it is important for you as an individual to be examined when you are contacted. If you have symptoms, says Ulrika Årehed Kågström, it is very important that you seek care, and that districts also compete with screening programmes.

She points out that it is critical to detect cancer as early as possible.

– It saves lives, either fully recovering or getting a gentle treatment, she says.

Increased since the seventies

The incidence of cancer has increased since 1970, in part because more people are getting older and because care has become better at prognosis. Affect even unhealthy lifestyles.

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The National Board of Health and Welfare wrote that the impact of the pandemic was not significant for all cancers. With regard to cervical cancer, for example, the number of reported cases has not changed significantly. In 2020, 562 women developed cervical cancer, compared to an average of 564 women in the previous three years.

Facts: The most common type of cancer

The five biggest cancers of 2020:



Skin tumor, not malignant melanoma


Lung, trachea and bronchi

malignant melanoma



Skin tumor, not malignant melanoma

Urinary tract except kidneys


malignant melanoma

Source: National Council for Health and Welfare