Global Cancer Deaths to Double by 2030
Report Predicts Poor Nations Will See Biggest Increases in Cancer
WebMD News Archive
Dec. 9, 2008 -- Cancer deaths are projected to more than double
worldwide over the next two decades, largely from a dramatic increase in cancer
incidence in low- and middle-income countries driven by tobacco use and
increasingly Westernized lifestyles.
A new report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
explores the global burden of cancer, which is poised to become the leading
cause of death worldwide by 2010.
The report predicts that:
- By 2030, 27 million new cancer cases and 17 million cancer deaths will
occur each year worldwide. That compares to 12 million new cancers and slightly
less than 8 million cancer deaths in 2007.
- Based on current trends, the rate at which new cancers are diagnosed is
expected to grow by 1% annually, as are deaths from the disease.
- China, Russia, and India are projected to have the biggest increases in
cancers and cancer deaths.
Smoking and other lifestyle factors like obesity will overtake chronic infection as the leading
cause of cancer in poor and middle-income countries.
The projections stand in striking contrast to encouraging cancer trends in
the United States.
A report released earlier this month showed a decline in both cancer
incidence and cancer deaths for the first time in a decade.
This highlights the point that the burden of cancer is shifting to less
industrialized regions, IARC Director Peter Boyle, MD, tells WebMD.
"Forty years ago, cancer was primarily a disease of high-resource,
industrialized countries," Boyle says. "That isn't true anymore. When
we think of low-resource countries, we think of communicable diseases as the
big killers. But each year more people across the globe die of cancer than die
tuberculosis, and malaria combined."
Cancer Burden Will Double
Around the world, the burden of cancer doubled between 1975 and 2000, and it
is predicted to double again by 2020 and triple by 2030.
Boyle notes that in 1970, just 15% of cancers occurred in poor and
Today, more than half of cancer cases and two-thirds of cancer deaths occur
in these underserved countries, and the disparity is expected to rise.