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Cancer Killed Almost 8 Million Worldwide with 12 million new cases in 2007 –Health day news
In a Monday , Dec. 17 Health Day News Editorial Health Day reporter Steven Reinberg wrote in the Yahoo News Service that ‘Cancer continues to cut a deadly swath across the globe, with the American Cancer Society reporting 12 million new cases of malignancy diagnosed worldwide in 2007, with 7.6 million people dying from the disease’.
Here is the report:
The report, Global Cancer Facts & Figures, finds that 5.4 million of those cancers and 2.9 million deaths are in more affluent, developed nations, while 6.7 million new cancer cases and 4.7 million deaths hit people in developing countries.
“The point of the report is to promote cancer control worldwide, and increase awareness worldwide,” said report co-author Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, director of the society’s Cancer Occurrence Office.
The number of cancers and cancer deaths around the world is on the rise, Jemal said, mostly due to an aging population. “There is increasing life expectancy, and cancer occurs more frequently in older age groups,” he noted.
Lifestyle may be another reason for the rise in malignancies in developing countries, Jemal said, as people adopt Western behaviors such as smoking, high-fat diets and less physical activity.
The best way to stem the increasing number of cancer cases and deaths is prevention, especially in poorer countries, the expert said. In many developing nations, the health-care infrastructure simply isn’t there to offer cancer screening and treatment for most people, Jemal added.
In developed countries, the most common cancers among men are prostate, lung and colorectal cancer. Among women, the most common cancers are breast, colorectal and lung cancer, according to the report.
However, in developing countries the three most common cancer among men are lung, stomach and liver, and among women, breast, and cervix uteri.
In addition, cancer survival rates in many developing countries are far below those in developed countries. This is mostly due to the lack of early detection and treatment services. For example, in North America five-year childhood cancer survival rates are about 75 percent compared with three-year survival rates of 48 percent to 62 percent in Central America, the report notes. The report estimates that 60 percent of the world’s children who develop cancer have little or no access to treatment.
The report also includes a section on the toll tobacco use takes around the world. In 2000, some 5 million people worldwide died from tobacco use. Of these, about 30 percent (1.42 million) died from cancer — 850,000 from lung cancer alone.
Jemal believes smoking is a key culprit.
“Smoking prevalence is decreasing in developed countries. So, as tobacco companies are losing market in developed countries they are trying to expand their market in developing countries,” he said.
In China alone, more than 350 million people smoke. “That’s more than the entire population of the United States,” Jemal said. “If these current patterns continue, there will be 2 billion smokers worldwide by the year 2030, half of whom will die of smoking-related diseases if they do not quit,” he added.
In the 20th century, tobacco use caused about 100 million deaths around the world. In this century, that figure is expected to rise to over 1 billion people. Most of these will occur in developing countries.
One expert agreed that many cancer deaths can be avoided through lifestyle changes.
“What is most provocative here is not the total global burden of suffering and death cancer causes, dramatic though that may be, but the variations in cancer occurrence around the world, and the insights provided about how much of the cancer burden need not occur at all,” said Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine.
In developing countries, cancer of the uterine cervix is a leading cause of death in women, Katz noted.
“Yet this infection-related cancer is now preventable by vaccine, and long treatable when detected early using the Pap smear. As a result, death from cervical cancer in developed countries is dramatically lower. Its toll in the developing world is testimony to missed opportunities to apply our resources effectively, and equitably,” he said.
Cancer of the liver, often related to hepatitis infection, is a leading cause of death in developing countries, but not so in developed countries. “Again, an infection preventable with vaccine is causing death because of inequities in the distribution and use of existing resources,” Katz said.
Prostate and colon cancers are more common in wealthier countries, where they are likely related to poor diet and obesity, Katz said. “Unnecessary suffering and death are occurring in affluent countries due to dietary excesses,” he said.
Katz also noted that tobacco-related cancer is largely preventable. “The toll of tobacco-related disease, including lung cancer, is an appalling example of a global willingness to tolerate preventable suffering and death for the sake of profit,” he said.
These data show both developed and developing countries how to move toward the lower rates of specific cancers, Katz said.
“It will be a tragic failure for public health if instead of applying these lessons developed countries continue to export tobacco and dietary transgressions so that the developing world adds to its current cancer burden ours as well,” he said.
The projections are contained in the first ever report by the American Cancer Society, and are based on cancer and mortality rates in the Globocan 2002 database compiled by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
According to Monday’s report “Global Cancer Facts and Figures,” some 5.4 million cancer cases and 2.9 million deaths will occur in industrialized countries.
Here the most common kind of cancers are prostate, lung and colon cancer among men, and breast cancer and lung and colon cancer among women.
Some 6.7 million cancer cases and 4.7 million deaths will take place in developing nations, with lung, stomach and liver cancer being most prevalent in men, and women suffering most from breast, uterine and stomach cancer.
“The burden of cancer is increasing in developing countries as deaths from infectious diseases and childhood mortality decline and more people live to older ages when cancer most frequently occurs,” said Ahmedin Jemal, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society and co-author of the report.
About 15 percent of all cancers are linked to infections, such as stomach, liver and uterine cancers.
But in developing nations three times more cancer cases are linked to infections than in industrialized countries, some 26 percent compared with eight percent.
“This cancer burden is also increasing as people in the developing countries adopt western lifestyles such as cigarette smoking, higher consumption of saturated fat and calorie-dense foods, and reduced physical activity,” said Jemal.
The report also contains a special focus on smoking called “The Tobacco Epidemic” which predicts that more than a billion people will die from smoking-related diseases in the 21st century — most in developing countries.
This compares to about 100 million deaths from smoking around the world in the 20th century.
About five million people died around the world from tobacco use in 2000, of which 30 percent 1.42 million contracted cancer, of whom 850,000 had lung cancer, the report said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 84 percent of the world’s 1.3 billion smokers live in developing nations.
In China alone, the WHO estimates that there are more than 350 million smokers, more than the entire population of the United States.
If the trend continues, there will be about two billion smokers around the world by 2030 of which half will die from smoking-related illnesses if they don’t quit.