Cancer to pass heart disease as No. 1 killer

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cancer is on pace to supplant heart disease as the No. 1 cause of death worldwide in 2010, with a growing burden in poor countries thanks to more cigarette smoking and other factors, global health experts said on Tuesday.

Globally, an estimated 12.4 million people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year and 7.6 million people will die, the U.N. World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said in a report.

“The global cancer burden doubled in the last 30 years of the 20th century, and it is estimated that this will double again between 2000 and 2020 and nearly triple by 2030,” according to the report.

By 2030, 26.4 million people a year may be diagnosed with cancer, with 17 million people dying from it, the report forecast.

In men, lung cancer was the most common form in terms of new cases and deaths, while breast cancer was the most common type among women in new cases and deaths, according to the report. More men than women get cancer and die from it.

“This is going to present amazing problems at every level in every society worldwide,” the IARC’s Peter Boyle said at a news conference.

In the near term, cancer is expected to bypass heart disease as the leading killer globally in 2010, American Cancer Society Chief Executive Officer John Seffrin said. Cancer currently accounts for about one in eight deaths worldwide.

Trends that will contribute to rising cancer cases and deaths include the aging of populations in many countries — cancer is more common in the elderly — and increasing rates of cigarette smoking in poor countries.

Some rich countries have made progress in cutting cigarette smoking, which causes most cases of lung cancer as well as many other illnesses. In the United States, the most recent figures show that for the first time since records have been kept less than 20 percent of adults were smokers in 2007.

However, cigarette companies are finding new customers in developing countries. Seffrin noted that 40 percent of the world’s smokers live in just two nations — China and India.

Decades ago, cancer was considered largely a problem of Westernized, rich, industrialized countries. But much of the global burden now rests in poor and medium-income countries.

Many of these countries have limited health budgets and high rates of communicable diseases, while cancer treatment facilities are out of reach for many people and life-saving treatments are seldom available, Boyle said.

“There are more deaths in the world from cancer than from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined,” Boyle said.

At the same time, progress against cancer has been reported by authorities in such places as the United States and Europe.

For example, health authorities in the United States reported last month that cancer diagnosis rates are now dropping for the first time in both men and women and previous declines in cancer death rates are accelerating.  Continued…


Related Posts:

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cancer rates have dropped for the first time in the United States and previous declines in cancer deaths are accelerating, a report released on Tuesday showed as cancer-fighting efforts produced solid results. Regular screening for breast and colorectal cancer, declining smoking rates and improved treatments helped lead to the improvements described

Full Post: Rate of new U.S. cancer cases drops for first time

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Lung cancer has overtaken breast cancer as the biggest killer of Australian women with cancer, as females who started smoking in the 1970s and 1980s as they gained equal rights with men are diagnosed with the deadly disease. More than 50 Australian women lost their battle with lung cancer every week in 2005

Full Post: Lung cancer kills more women than breast cancer

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of U.S. adults who smoke has dropped below 20 percent for the first time on record but cigarettes still kill almost half a million people a year, health officials said on Thursday. About 19.8 percent of U.S. adults — 43.4 million people — were smokers in 2007. That was

Full Post: U.S. smoking rate is under 20 percent for first time

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Measles deaths have plummeted by 74 percent globally this decade thanks to a concerted effort to vaccinate children in Africa and other hard-hit regions, health officials said on Thursday. Measles deaths worldwide fell from an estimated 750,000 in 2000 — the year before the vaccination effort began — to 197,000 in

Full Post: Global effort prompts huge drop in measles deaths

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Cigarette smoking is associated with the occurrence of colorectal cancer and with mortality from the disease, according to a multinational team. “Because smoking can potentially be controlled by individual and population-related measures, detecting a link between colorectal cancer and smoking could help reduce the burden of the world’s third most common

Full Post: Smoking linked to colorectal cancer deaths

Site Navigation

Most Read