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SPECIAL REPORT

New cancer cases top 14m in 2012 worldwide

Lyon/Geneva, December 13, 2013

An estimated 14.1 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths occurred in 2012, compared with 12.7 million and 7.6 million, respectively, in 2008, according to latest data released by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of WHO, today released the latest data on cancer incidence, mortality, and prevalence worldwide.

The new version of IARC’s online database, Globocan 2012, provides the most recent estimates for 28 types of cancer in 184 countries worldwide and offers a comprehensive overview of the global cancer burden.

Prevalence estimates for 2012 show that there were 32.6 million people (over the age of 15 years) alive who had had a cancer diagnosed in the previous five years.

The most commonly diagnosed cancers worldwide were those of the lung (1.8 million, 13.0 per cent of the total), breast (1.7 million, 11.9 per cent), and colorectum (1.4 million, 9.7 per cent). The most common causes of cancer death were cancers of the lung (1.6 million, 19.4 per cent of the total), liver (0.8 million, 9.1 per cent), and stomach (0.7 million, 8.8 per cent).

Projections based on the Globocan 2012 estimates predict a substantive increase to 19.3 million new cancer cases per year by 2025, due to growth and ageing of the global population. More than half of all cancers (56.8 per cent) and cancer deaths (64.9 per cent) in 2012 occurred in less developed regions of the world, and these proportions will increase further by 2025.

Sharp rise in breast cancer worldwide

In 2012, 1.7 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer and there were 6.3 million women alive who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in the previous five years. Since the 2008 estimates, breast cancer incidence has increased by more than 20 per cent, while mortality has increased by 14 per cent.

Breast cancer is also the most common cause of cancer death among women (522 000 deaths in 2012) and the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in 140 of 184 countries worldwide. It now represents one in four of all cancers in women.

“Breast cancer is also a leading cause of cancer death in the less developed countries of the world. This is partly because a shift in lifestyles is causing an increase in incidence, and partly because clinical advances to combat the disease are not reaching women living in these regions,” said Dr David Forman, head of the IARC Section of Cancer Information, the group that compiles the global cancer data.

“An urgent need in cancer control today is to develop effective and affordable approaches to the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer among women living in less developed countries,” explained Dr Christopher Wild, director of IARC. “It is critical to bring morbidity and mortality in line with progress made in recent years in more developed parts of the world.”

With 528 000 new cases every year, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer affecting women worldwide, after breast, colorectal, and lung cancers; it is most notable in the lower-resource countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

It is also the fourth most common cause of cancer death (266 000 deaths in 2012) in women worldwide. Almost 70 per cent of the global burden falls in areas with lower levels of development, and more than one fifth of all new cases are diagnosed in India.

“Cervical cancer can have devastating effects with a very high human, social, and economic cost, affecting women in their prime. But this disease should not be a death sentence, even in poor countries,” explained Dr Rengaswamy Sankaranarayanan, a lead investigator for an IARC research project with a focus on cervical cancer screening in rural India.

“Low-tech and inexpensive screening tools exist and could significantly reduce the burden of cervical cancer deaths right now in less developed countries.”

In sub-Saharan Africa, 34.8 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed per 100 000 women annually, and 22.5 per 100 000 women die from the disease. These figures compare with 6.6 and 2.5 per 100 000 women, respectively, in North America. The drastic differences can be explained by lack of access to effective screening and to services that facilitate early detection and treatment.

“These findings bring into sharp focus the need to implement the tools already available for cervical cancer, notably HPV vaccination combined with well-organized national programmes for screening and treatment,” said Dr Wild. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: WHO | Cancer | IARC |

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