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Cancer Problems Look Set To Nearly Double
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Main Category: Cancer / Oncology
Article Date: 01 Jun 2012 – 10:00 PDT
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The occurrence of cancer looks set to
double over the next 15+ years with
researchers predicting a 75% rise in
cancer incidence by 2030. In poorer
countries, the number is closer to 90%.
The article published in the Lancet Oncology was prepared by Dr Freddie Bray of the International
Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France. The aim of his work was to look at current
and future patterns of incidence and mortality. They also looked at how different types of cancer
vary between countries, using the Human Development Index to group and classify them.
It appears that cervical and stomach cancer are in decline in more developed countries, but those
types of cancer are being superseded by breast, prostate and colorectal cancer that are more
associated with the “western” lifestyle, of countries that are more socially and economically
advanced.
Dr Bray goes on to say that
“Cancer is already the leading cause of death in many high-income countries and is set
to become a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the next decades in every region
of the world; this study serves as an important reference point in drawing attention to
the need for global action to reduce the increasing burden of cancer.”
Using data from GLOBOCAN, a database compiled by the International Agency for Research on
Cancer (IARC), Bray and colleagues looked at patterns of the most common types of cancer to see
how they varied when compared to four levels of human development. They then used the
information they gathered to predict how cancer incidence would change and countries become
more developed.
In less developed countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa, cancer is more associated with
infection and thus cervical and stomach cancer are more prevalent. In highly developed countries
such as UK, Australia and Brazil the cancer burden is more aligned with lifestyle factors,
reproductive risks, obesity and diet. Thus, we see female breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer
being the most common.
In theory, if developing countries follow the same trends as those already enjoying a high level of
economic prosperity, then the cancer trends will mirror the development. Thus countries such as
China, South Africa and India will see cancer rates of these “lifestyle” cancers, rising rapidly.
Researchers say as high as 93% by 2030.
In all the researchers predict the following trends:
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Cancer / Oncology
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“Global cancer transitions according to the Human Development Index (2008—2030): a population-based
study”
Dr Freddie Bray PhD, Ahmedin Jemal PhD, Nathan Grey PhD, Jacques Ferlay ME, David Forman PhD
The Lancet Oncology, June 2012, doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(12)70211-5
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Rupert Shepherd. (2012, June 1). “Cancer Problems Look Set To Nearly Double.” Medical
News Today. Retrieved from
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Prostate cancer and female breast cancer incidence rates appear to be rising in most
countries currently with medium, high, or very high levels of HDI.
Stomach cancer and cervical cancer are predominantly decreasing in countries with medium,
high, or very high levels of HDI, although for cervix cancer, there are a number of exceptions.
In countries with high and very high HDI levels, lung cancer incidence rates tend to be
decreasing in men, but increasing in women, though in a given country this is dependent on
the current stage of the tobacco epidemic; while lung cancer is not a leading cancer in low HDI
regions at present, it will become a leading cause of cancer unless tobacco smoking is
effectively controlled in these areas.
In 2008, almost 40% of the incident cases of cancer that occur globally occur in very high HDI
countries, despite these regions containing just 15% of the world’s population.
The authors highlight the fact that their data and work is fairly limited and their projections are
constrained by these factors. Nonetheless, back of an envelope calculations can often prove to be
highly accurate and efficient ways to make predictions, and if cancer rates rise amongst the more
than 2 billion people in India and China, as they have done amongst the billion or so in the most
developed countries, the rates of cancer will become quite shocking.
Dr Christopher Wild, IARC Director said:
“This study reveals the dynamic nature of cancer patterns in a given region of the world
over time. Countries must take account of the specific challenges they will face and
prioritize targeted interventions to combat the projected increases in cancer burden via
effective primary prevention strategies, early detection, and effective treatment
programs”.
Written by Rupert Shepherd
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today
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