Saturday, April 20, 2024

Global Cancer Burden: Warning on the Surge of Global Cancer Rates

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a warning regarding the alarming increase in the global cancer burden, anticipating a 77% rise in new cases by 2050. As part of a report released ahead of World Cancer Day, the WHO and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) revealed that new cancer cases surged by 50% between 2012 and 2022, reaching a total of 20 million, with deaths rising by 18% to 9.7 million.

This concerning trend is expected to continue, with a projected 35 million new cancer cases in 2050. The rise is attributed to factors such as population aging, growth, and changes in risk exposure, including the significant impact of tobacco, alcohol, and obesity. Environmental factors, particularly air pollution, also contribute to the increase in cancer cases.

Global Cancer Burden: The Impact of Development on Access to Care and Survival Rates

While increased cancer incidence is partly due to longer lifespans, the survival rate is closely tied to early detection and treatment. Regrettably, the majority of the 115 countries examined in the report do not adequately fund priority cancer and palliative care services. Only 39% of countries cover basic cancer care, and even fewer (28%) provide palliative care, including pain relief.

Significant disparities exist in cancer treatment outcomes between countries with high and low human development indices (HDI), which measure progress in achieving a long and healthy life, knowledge, and a decent standard of living. This disparity is particularly noticeable in breast cancer cases.

Women in countries with low HDI are 50% less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than those in high HDI countries. However, they face a significantly higher risk of dying from the disease due to late diagnosis and limited access to quality treatment. These disparities are not only observed between high- and low-income regions globally but also within individual countries.

Cancer Burden

Bridging the Gap in Global Cancer Care: Urgency, Inequity, and the Path Forward

Dr. Cary Adams, the head of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), emphasized that where someone lives should not determine whether they live. Tools and resources are available to enable governments to prioritize cancer care and ensure that everyone has access to affordable and high-quality services. This challenge is not solely about resource availability but is a matter of political will.

The report highlighted that lung cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer worldwide and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Breast cancer ranks as the second most common cancer, followed by colorectal, prostate, and stomach cancers. Colorectal cancer has the second-highest mortality rate, with liver, breast, and stomach cancers also among the leading causes of cancer-related deaths.

In some regions, cervical cancer remains a significant concern, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, despite the availability of vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV), the primary cause of cervical cancer, for nearly two decades. Addressing these disparities and challenges in cancer care will be crucial to reducing the global cancer burden and improving outcomes for patients worldwide.


Resource: Pharmaphorum, February 02, 2024

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