The Fight against Cancer in France

The statistics made by the National Institute of Health and of Medical Research (I.N.S.R.M.) show that the number of deaths due to cancer increases from year to year. Between 1956 and 1965, the number of reported cases of death from cancer, including leukemia, went from 81,499 to 99,608. But it is possible that this increase in absolute figures is in good part linked to the average length of life and the growth of the population. In effect, the number of deaths from cancer per 100,000 varies in those years in less pronounced proportions: 188 in 1956 and to 205 in 1965. The comparison between 1956 and 1965 shows an increase in 22.2% in absolute figures; but in the proportions per 100,000 inhabitants, the increase is 9%.

The percentage that corresponds to cancer among the known causes of death rises to 21%; that is, approximately every 5 people one dies of cancer. To have an accurate idea of the importance of cancer, it would be necessary have morbidity statistics. In the absence of these, the data collected by the I. N. S. R. M. allow you to calculate 160,000, at least, the number of patients treated per year, new cases, old cases of slow evolution, recurrence, metastasis).

Current situation

Anti-cancer centers: They constitute the very basis of the fight against cancer. There are about twenty, but they are not meant to receive all cancerous patients, since many of these are usually treated in public hospitals and in private clinics. The anti-cancer centers are governed by a statute that approved by the Minister of Social Affairs and endowed with the recognizes the nature of private law bodies; but they are some capacity legal documents of public utility establishments These centers are not designed to diagnose and treat all the houses of cancer, but to complete the current hospital arsenal. They are in charge in particular of the complex cases of cancer that require the application of several associated treatments or the use of devices very expensive. That is why the anti-cancer centers have a medical staff made up of various specialists who work closely with the doctor-director;

– High-potency therapeutic devices (radiotherapy devices deep, cobalt pump, betatrones) or very specialized (chemotherapy, isotopes). On the other hand, they have a very developed medical-social service, allowing them: -Participate in the permanent survey on cancer morbidity organized by the I. N. S. R. M. , to which all observations are sent clinical and therapeutic related to cancer patients; -Help the sick in the solution of individual problems and relatives raised by the hospitalization; -To continue monitoring the patients after treatment, for a no less than seven years; -Organize educational conferences. In addition, the anti-cancer centers are especially responsible of research on the etiology, prophylaxis and therapeutics of cancer. Finally, they can sign agreements with hospital centers with you look to take part in teaching. Currently, almost all directors of anti-cancer centers are university professors.

Systemic screening (which involves examining people seemingly healthy to discover the early signs and symptoms of an evil) can not be generalized as far as cancer is concerned. Indeed, how this disease can be localized in any part of the body, a complete and periodically renewed examination would be necessary, which would require technical means of such magnitude and cost that they would not would be proportionate to the results that could be expected from a similar organization. Hence, the possibility of this procedure is currently limited to certain forms of cancer: lung cancer, Cervix, etc Until 1963 inclusive, the State participated up to a limit of approximately 50% in the operating expenses of these offices, by granting subsidies to departments that installed them.


Although the development of research depends mainly on the National Institute of Health and Medical Research, agrees to remember that:  Biological and clinical research is carried out in all centers anticancer These establishments are in constant communication with the I.N.S.R.M., which is responsible in particular to direct the permanent survey about cancer. The clinical and therapeutic observations related to all the patients treated in the anticancer centers are transmitted to the Institute’s cancer section, which allows it: -determine the frequency of cancer in the country; -remove statistical and biological studies on each of the form of this disease; -Follow the evolution of the fight against cancer. Fundamental research on cancer is carried out in some anticancer centers, and in the following establishments or specialized agencies: Institute of Investigations on the Cancer of the National Center of Scientific Research, of Villejuif; – Research Center on the normal and cancerous cell, of Villejuif; -Institute of the Radium (Curie Foundation); Institute of Investigation of the Leukemia (Hospital St-Louis from Paris);

-Institute of Investigations on the Cancer of Lille.

In the next few years, efforts will be intensified to provide anticancer centers with personnel, premises and equipment that will allow them to participate more actively in fundamental research. A team of French doctors announced this weekend that it has managed to detect lung cancer by means of a simple blood test, which represents a very important advance in the early diagnosis of this disease and a “world first.” The works have They were developed by the team led by Professor Paul Hofman of the University Hospital of Nice, together with a center affiliated with the University of Sophia-Antipolis. Through the studies, researchers have been able to test the presence of tumor cells in patients’ blood samples before an x-ray could reveal the slightest symptom of the condition. According to the study conducted with a sample of 245 people who did not suffer from cancer, of whom 168 were considered at risk for chronic obstructive bronchopathy (COPD), the blood test detected cancer cells in five of them. Following the follow-up of these five people, the experts found that “all of them developed cancer, that is, we speak of 100% reliability,”

Dr. Hofman explained. “We have tested the concept, now it is necessary to validate the results statistically through a study at the national level”, said the head of the research. Early warning in the detection of a tumor could play a key role in the precocity of the surgical intervention, achieving an “extraordinary incidence” in the field of invasive lung cancers. In addition, it would mean an increase in survival to this serious condition.