Cancer is set to become a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the coming decades in every region of the world, according to new research. The study estimated that the global incidence of cancer may rise more than 75 percent by 2030. Especially in developing countries, cases are expected to surge.
If current population trends continue, the number of people with cancer worldwide will go up from 12.7 million in 2008 to 22.2 million within the next 20 years. Researchers of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, based this forecast on a snapshot of cancer statistics collected from 184 countries.
In particular, the spread of unhealthy Western ways of living seem to be responsible for the increase in the number of cancer cases. The study found that improved living standards in low-income countries lead to a reduction in infection-related cancers like stomach cancer, but are being offset by a surge in the types of cancer which currently affect mainly richer countries such as lung, female breast and prostate cancer.
The authors write that targeted interventions are needed to “effectively control the prevalence of lifestyle factors including tobacco avoidance and cessation of smoking, a reduction in alcohol consumption and obesity, and the promotion of increased levels of physical activity.”
Study leader Dr Freddie Bray said: “This study serves as an important reference point in drawing attention to the need for global action to reduce the increasing burden of cancer.”
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Bray, F., Jemal, A., Grey, N., Ferlay, J., & Forman, D. (2012). Global cancer transitions according to the Human Development Index (2008–2030): a population-based study The Lancet Oncology DOI: 10.1016/S1470-2045(12)70211-5