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Global Cancer Deaths to Double by 2030

Report Predicts Poor Nations Will See Biggest Increases in Cancer

Regional Differences Persist

The report highlighted regional differences in cancer incidence and death.

Among the findings:

  • Breast 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.

ACS Issues Call to Action

In response to the report, the American Cancer Society (ACS ) joined with other cancer groups in the U.S. today to issue a call to action to the incoming Obama administration and the new Congress.

ACS Chief Medical Officer Otis Brawley, MD, tells WebMD that the new report highlights the need to make vaccines that prevent cancer available to low- and middle-income nations, to promote smoking cessation programs worldwide, and to invest in cancer research aimed at reducing the global burden of cancer.

"People ask, 'Why should the federal government fund research into cancer in other countries?'" Brawley says. "The answer is that we can learn a great deal from this research and it is the right thing to do."

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