The Netherlands has one of the highest rates of cancer in the European Union

The Integrated Cancer Centre of the Netherlands (IKNL) has announced that the Netherlands is amongst countries with the highest rates of cancer in the European Union. Experts believe it may have something to do with the country’s early movement towards female emancipation.

The exact cause of the higher cancer rate is not certain, but recent studies suggest it might be related to female emancipation movement and smoking.

Female emancipation and lung cancer

The reason for this thinking is found in the high number of lung cancer sufferers in the Netherlands. The IKNL believes this may be due to the fact that there are more female smokers in the Netherlands.

The reason more women smoke in the Netherlands is believed to be due to the female emancipation movement of the 1970s. It occurred earlier in the Netherlands than it did in other EU countries.

The Netherlands also suffers from high rates of colon cancer, breast cancer and skin cancer. While it is uncertain what causes the higher rate of colon and breast cancer, it is suspected that the cause for high rates of skin cancer is due to the fact that many Dutch people are quite pale.

Coronavirus and cancer

According to figures given by the IKNL, 117,631 people were diagnosed with cancer in 2019. However, the IKNL has reported that fewer diagnoses have been made in 2020. The institution believes this is due to fewer people going to their GPs during the corona pandemic. In May, the institution reported that a quarter fewer cases of cancer had been reported in previous weeks.

Relatively low mortality rates

There are only two other countries in the EU that have comparable rates of cancer, Ireland and Denmark. However, while the Netherlands has one of the highest rates of mortality, the number of mortalities relative to the number of cancer cases is low.

How do you feel about this? Has corona prevented you from going to the doctor? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Hush Naidoo/ Unsplash 

Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah originally arrived in the Netherlands due to an inability to make her own decisions — she was simply told by her mother to choose the Netherlands for Erasmus. Life here has been challenging (have you heard the language) but brilliant for Sarah, and she loves to write about it. When Sarah is not acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her sitting in a corner of Leiden with a coffee, trying to sound witty.


  1. Why western EU countries? Smoking, junk food, big amount of stress due to negative financial surprises, CO2, pesticides? In Croatia, just part of the nation who are eating more potato having bigger problems with cancer. I am eating potato also, but I found, as you can see, that potatoeaters having more cancer.

  2. This argument is completely ridiculous. The reason is very clear and everybody know that people in this country can’t make any exam, it is not part of the protocol of the system. You are allowed to check papanicolau just when you reach 30 years old,Each 5 years ! it is too late, women never visit an gynecologist. To decrease all the women since 18 years old should be check by a gynecologist once a year and make a general exams as around the world does. Papanicolau each 5 years is not enough,
    Women need a better check ups. Even in poor country you are able by public service to make this kind Of basic check up much early age. This is the only possibility to prevent cancer. Mammography should start with 30 and not with 65 years old like is here.
    This is the reason and not because woman smoke here. This is a ridiculous and they try to hide information and Don’t give the appropriate treatment. Everybody in this country find cancer in a very late stage. No preventions at all !


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