Cancer Will Kill 10M Worldwide This Year: IARC

The World Health Organization has issued a new report suggesting the rates of cancer and cancer deaths are rapidly increasing globally, with nearly 20 million new diagnoses and indication that nearly 10 million people may die this year. 

In the report published by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, researchers indicate that cancer will be the leading cause of death globally by the end of the century.

The report uses the GLOBOCON 2018 database to estimate the global burden of cancer. It includes incidence of cancer and death rates for 185 countries and 36 types of cancer.

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The report also indicates one in five men and one in six women worldwide will develop cancer in their lifetimes. Furthermore, one in eight men and one in 11 women die from the disease every year.

According to the report, cancer is now the single biggest barrier to increasing life expectancy. The burden from cancer continues to increase as the global population continues to grow and age.

The cancer burden also varies between regions. More than half of the new cases of cancer and more than half the cancer deaths will occur in Asia. This is mostly because the area has more than 60% of the world’s population.

Europe accounts for 9% of the global population, but accounts for 23% of cancer cases and 20% of cancer deaths. The Americas has 13% of the world’s population, but accounts for 21% of cancer cases and 14% of cancer deaths.

The Deadliest Cancers

The top three most diagnosed cancers globally include lung, female breast, and colorectal cancer. Those three are also among the list of top five cancers that lead to death. Together, those three cancers account for one-third of the cancer cases and deaths worldwide.

Lung cancer kills about 2 million people annually. Colorectal cancer comes in second, with 800,000 deaths, while breast cancer comes in fifth with nearly 630,000 deaths.

Despite strides in awareness and prevention for lung cancer in North America and Europe, lung cancer continues to be a major burden globally. It is the leading cause of death for both men and women and is the leading cause of cancer death in women in 28 countries.

Among men, lung cancer is diagnosed in about 14% of cases and is the leading cause of death in men, accounting for 22% of deaths. Among women, lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer. It is diagnosed in 24% of cases and is the leading cause of death, accounting for 15% of death among women.

In countries where prevention campaigns are prominent, the cases of lung cancer have decreased.

Similarly, cases of cervical cancer have also decreased in countries where prevention efforts were launched years ago. However, much like lung cancer, it continues to be a problem in many countries around the globe.

“These new figures highlight that much remains to be done to address the alarming rise in the cancer burden globally and that prevention has a key role to play,” says IARC Director Dr Christopher Wild. “Efficient prevention and early detection policies must be implemented urgently to complement treatments in order to control this devastating disease across the world.”


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