New cancer cases and deaths to double by 2030, UN finds

Whole body scan of patient being reviewed to assess the spread of cancer

2 June 2010 – The number of new cancer cases and deaths will double in the next two decades, cancer researchers at the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) announced today.

By 2030, there will annually be nearly 21.4 million new cases diagnosed and more than 13.2 million deaths, compared to 12.7 million new cases and 7.6 million deaths in 2008, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the WHO.

The projections – part of GLOBOCAN 2008, an online resource launched by IARC today – are based on expected population aging and growth in the coming decades, assuming that underlying rates of cancer will remain constant during that time.

“These figures represent the most accurate assessment of the global cancer burden available at present and can be used in the setting of priorities for cancer control in different regions of the world,” said Christopher Wild, IARC Director.

The body found that developed countries bear a higher cancer burden, both in terms of incidence and deaths.

Lung, breast and colorectal cancer are the most commonly diagnosed, while the most common causes of deaths due to cancer are lung, stomach and liver cancers.

Cervix and liver cancers are more common in poorer nations, while prostate and colorectal cancers are more widespread in developed ones.

Europe is home to nearly half of all cancer cases, followed by South America and Asia, IARC found.


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