During the corona pandemic, significantly fewer patients were treated in hospital for cancer. As the Federal Statistical Office reported on Thursday on the occasion of World Cancer Day on February 4th, in 2021 almost 1.44 million people were hospitalized because of this diagnosis.
The number of inpatient cancer treatments in the second year of Corona fell “to a new low in the past 20 years”, as the statisticians in Wiesbaden announced. Compared to the first Corona year 2020, the number of cancer-related hospital stays in 2021 fell by 1.2 percent. Compared to the pre-Corona year 2019 with around 1.55 million cancer treatments at the time, the decrease was 7.2 percent.
"The high utilization of the hospitals by Covid 19 patients, the keeping of free bed capacities and stricter hygiene concepts meant that "plannable" treatments were postponed," the office justified the decline. "In addition, many people probably avoided hospitalizations if they did not consider them absolutely necessary."
Cancer is still the fourth leading reason for hospitalization
However, the number of cancer treatments fell less than that of inpatient hospital treatments overall. These fell by 13.6 percent from 19.86 million cases in 2019 to 17.16 million treatments in 2021.
In 2021, every twelfth inpatient stay was due to cancer. Cancer was the fourth most common reason for hospitalization. Only diseases of the circulatory system, diseases of the digestive tract, as well as injuries, poisoning and other "consequences of external causes" were more common.
People between the ages of 60 and 79 are particularly likely to develop cancer. More than half of all cancer patients in 2021 were in this age group. A good fifth was between 40 and 59 years old.
The most common cancer diagnosis among hospitalized patients was lung and bronchial cancer (13 percent). This was followed by colon cancer (9 percent), breast cancer (9 percent), skin cancer (7 percent) and bladder cancer (7 percent). Compared to the pre-corona level of 2019, inpatient treatments for colorectal cancer (minus 12.5 percent) and skin cancer (minus 8.6 percent) fell the most.
Although prevention, screening and treatment have improved, cancer remained the second leading cause of death in 2021, according to statistics. More people died only from diseases of the circulatory system. 54 percent of those who died from cancer were men, 46 percent women. The most common cause of cancer-related death in 2021 was lung and bronchial cancer. 61 percent of these deaths were in men, 39 percent in women.