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14 Million Cancer Cases Reported Globally

Posted by feww on December 13, 2013

Cancer cases jump by more than 10 percent since 2008: WHO

Total number of victims being diagnosed with cancer globally each year has jumped from 12.7 million in 2008 to more than 14 million last year, said the World Health Organization (WHO).

The number of deaths has also risen during that period, from 7.6 million to 8.2 million.

Lung cancer is identified as the most common cancer, about 13% of the total, with more than 1.8 million cases reported globally, followed by stomach, liver, colorectal, breast and cervical cancer.

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Chest x-ray of lung cancer, the leading cause of death among cancer victims.

Since 2008, a sharp increase in cases of breast cancer, both the incidence and mortality,   has made the disease the most common cancer in women across 140 countries, said WHO.

“Breast cancer is also a leading cause of cancer death in the less developed countries of the world,” said a spokesman for WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.

“This is partly because a shift in lifestyles is causing an increase in incidence, and partly because clinical advances to combat the disease are not reaching women living in these regions.”

Key facts (WHO, 2008)

  • Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 7.6 million deaths (around 13% of all deaths) in 2008.
  • Lung, stomach, liver, colon and breast cancer cause the most cancer deaths each year.
  • The most frequent types of cancer differ between men and women.
  • About 30% of cancer deaths are due to the five leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, alcohol use.
  • Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer causing 22% of global cancer deaths and 71% of global lung cancer deaths.
  • Cancer causing viral infections such as HBV/HCV and HPV are responsible for up to 20% of cancer deaths in low- and middle-income countries.
  • About 70% of all cancer deaths in 2008 occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Deaths from cancer worldwide are projected to continue rising.
  • More than 30% of cancer deaths could be prevented by modifying or avoiding key risk factors, including:
    • tobacco use
    • being overweight or obese
    • unhealthy diet with low fruit and vegetable intake
    • lack of physical activity
    • alcohol use
    • sexually transmitted HPV-infection
    • urban air pollution
    • indoor smoke from household use of solid fuels.

Causes of Cancer (WHO Fact Sheet 2008)

Cancer arises from one single cell. The transformation from a normal cell into a tumour cell is a multistage process, typically a progression from a pre-cancerous lesion to malignant tumours. These changes are the result of the interaction between a person’s genetic factors and three categories of external agents, including

  • Physical carcinogens: Ultraviolet and ionizing radiation.
  • Chemical carcinogens: Asbestos, components of tobacco smoke, aflatoxin (a food contaminant) and arsenic (a drinking water contaminant).
  • Biological carcinogens:  Infections from certain viruses, bacteria or parasites.

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