Cancer is on the rise in Cyprus, with 3,000 new cases reported annually and more than 1,200 people dying of the disease every year.
The latest figures obtained by the Cyprus News Agency show that the most common form of cancer is breast cancer among women and prostate cancer among men.
Despite the increase, experts say that Cyprus compares very well compared to other EU Member States.
According to the Cancer Archive, the cases are as follows: 1998: 1,597 (770 men, 827 women), 1999: 1,611 (800 men, 811 women), 2000: 1,755 (929 men, 826 women), 2001: 1,909 (980 men, 929 women), 2002: 2,045 (1,070 men, 975 women), 2003: 2,156 (1,114 men, 1,042 women), 2004: 2,376 (1,263 men, 1,113 women), 2005: 2,415 (1,272 men, 1,143 women), 2006: 2,457 (1,302 men, 1,155 women), 2007: 2,718 (1,381 men, 1,337 women), 2008: 2,843 (1,465 men, 1,378 women) and 2009: 2,880 (1,520 men, 1,360 women).
In the four-year period 2005-2009 the six most common forms of cancer among men were prostate, tracheal, lung, urinary tract, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and stomach.
Among women it was breast, three times more common than the second most common which was colorectal, thyroid, ovarian, tracheal, lung and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The Health Ministry's Pavlos Pavlou said there has been an increase of some 3% since records began in 1998 until 2009 which translates into approximately 3,000 people a year.
But he said there was no reason to panic since cancer was very common all over the world, and compared to other countries in the European Union, incidents here were at relatively low levels.
The manager of the Association of Cancer Patients and Friends Nicos Philippou said about 1,200 cancer-related deaths were reported every year.
"We do not want people to panic. Both the increase and the number of new cases in relation to the population is below the average in Europe," he said.
He said it was important to focus on prevention wherever possible, as well as on treatment, adding that significant progress had been made on both fronts.
He said that Cyprus had good cancer treatment centres. There are no waiting lists and doctors are kept up to date with new types of treatment.
Asked whether the association had been affected by the crisis, he said that revenue was down as the association relied on donations from the public for 90% of its funds, with the remainder coming from the state.
"We are talking about a budget of €2 million. We had a small drop in revenue, but despite this the help we get from the people is touching," he added.