Global Cancer Deaths to Double by 2030
Report Predicts Poor Nations Will See Biggest Increases in Cancer
WebMD News Archive
Cancer Burden Will Double continued...
The dramatic increase in smoking in low- and medium-income countries, which
began in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, is the biggest single cause of the
projected increase, which is expected to peak in 2030.
It takes about 40 years for big increases in smoking rates to be reflected
in smoking-related diseases like lung cancer and emphysema, Boyle says.
"The big tobacco companies started to move pretty strongly into these
low- and medium-resource countries in the early 1990s at about the same time
that we were working very aggressively to reduce tobacco use in Western
countries," he says.
According to the report:
- About 1.3 billion people smoke worldwide.
- About 12% of cancers in low-income countries can be attributed to tobacco
use, but this figure is expected to rise substantially.
- Lung cancer kills more people than any other cancer worldwide.
Breast cancers are also on the rise in low-income countries, where incidence
rates have been increasing by up to 5% a year.
And cervical cancer, which is largely preventable and
treatable in the industrialized world, is a leading cause of cancer deaths
among women living in poor regions, including many areas of Africa.
Regional Differences Persist
The report highlighted regional differences in cancer incidence and
Among the findings:
cancer rates in Japan, Singapore, and Korea have doubled or tripled over
the last four decades.
- Across Asia, the rate of stomach
cancer is high because of a lack of refrigeration. Since the 1930s,
when refrigerators became popular, mortality rates from stomach cancer in the
U.S. have declined by about 90%.
- Chewing tobacco is an important cancer risk factor in India.
- Roughly one in three cancers in low-income countries are caused by chronic
infections like hepatitis B, human papilloma virus (HPV), and HIV. These
cancers are increasingly preventable or treatable, but vaccination, screening,
and treatment are not widely available in these countries.
- In Africa, pain medication for terminal cancer
is generally limited or nonexistent because narcotics are illegal.
Boyle points out that 29 countries in Africa do not allow the importation of
morphine and other opioids, and 30 countries do not
have radiation therapy machines to treat bone pain.