New cases of cancer now over 14 million

The number of people dying from cancer each year has increased, according to the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

The global death toll went up by 8%, increasing from 7.6 million – calculated in a 2008 survey – to the figure of 8.2 million that was estimated for 2012.

In respect of just actual diagnoses of cancer, this has also increased, with over 14 million being diagnosed with cancer in 2012. This marks a significant increase from the 12.7 million cases that were recorded in 2008.

Last year, an estimated 1.7 million women were given new a new diagnosis of breast cancer, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). This represents an increase in excess of 20% from 2008, with both incidence and mortality going up.

In fact, the disease is now the most prevalent of all cancers in women across 140 countries around the world.

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

IARC’s report, named GLOBOCAN 2012, offers the most recent available statistics for 28 different types of cancer within 184 countries, providing an extensive look into the problem of cancer across the globe.

The report states that the most diagnosed cancers worldwide in both sexes combined are lung, breast and colorectal cancers. The cancers found to commonly result in death are lung, liver and stomach cancers.

Overall, lung cancer – primarily caused as a result of smoking – was found to be the world’s most common cancer. The 1.8 million cases recorded is 13% of the total.

The burgeoning problem of cancer is believed to be linked to a change in lifestyles in the developing nations, shifting more closely towards industrialised countries

However, the report noted “huge inequalities” between rich and poor countries. For instance, new cases of cancer being higher in developed countries, it is the less developed countries that have much higher death rates. Reasons for this are thought to be due to lack of screening and access to treatment, meaning cancerous tumours often not being found at an early enough stage.

Christopher Wild, IARC’s director, commented: “An urgent need in cancer control today is to develop effective and affordable approaches to the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer among women living in less developed countries.”

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