Not one word about Fukushima.
– New cancer cases worldwide expected to skyrocket (USA Today, Feb 4, 2014):
The incidence of cancer worldwide is growing at an alarming pace, and there is an urgent need to implement strategies to prevent and curb the disease, according to a report from the World Health Organization.
New cancer cases will skyrocket globally from an estimated 14 million in 2012 to 22 million new cases a year within the next two decades, the report says. During that same period, cancer deaths are predicted to rise from an estimated 8.2 million annually to 13 million a year.
The most common cancers diagnosed globally in 2012 were those of the lung (1.8 million cases, 13% of the total), breast (1.7 million, 11.9%), and large bowel (1.4 million, 9.7%), the group says. The most common causes of cancer death were cancers of the lung (1.6 million, 19.4% of the total), liver (0.8 million, 9.1%), and stomach (0.7 million, 8.8%).
The estimates and predictions are in a new report, from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO). The project is a collaboration of more than 250 leading scientists from more than 40 countries.
Christopher Wild, director of the agency, said in a statement, “These new figures and projections send a strong signal that immediate action is needed to confront this human disaster, which touches every community worldwide, without exception.”
The report “actually puts onto paper what a lot of us have been saying for some time,” says Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. “The burden of cancer internationally has doubled over the last 20 years, and it will double over the next 20 years. These facts support that we need to be serious about cancer prevention activities.
“In the Western world, the risk of dying from cancer has gone down by 20%, but the number of people who actually die from cancer has actually gone up because there are more people,” Brawley says. The number of cancer deaths in USA has risen from 400,000 in 1990 to about 550,000 in 2013, he says.
The decrease in risk is “overwhelmingly due to prevention. Tobacco cessation is the big driver,” he says. “Many people don’t realize that bad diet and obesity causes 12 different cancers. Indeed it’s the second leading cause of cancer in the United States. Tobacco accounts for 33% of all cancers in the U.S. And bad diet, obesity and physical inactivity account for 28%.”
Brawley says, “We in Western Europe and the United States are exporting these bad habits — tobacco use and a bad diet high in calories — to the third world.”
Half of all cancers globally could be prevented if current knowledge was put into practice, the new report says. This would include preventing the spread of tobacco use and reducing its use, tackling obesity, promoting physical activity, adopting screening programs and encouraging vaccines to reduce risk of certain cancers such as the liver and cervix.
The WHO report says lessons from cancer control measures in more affluent countries show that prevention works but that health promotion alone is insufficient. Adequate legislation plays an important role in reducing exposure and risk behaviors, the report says.
As a consequence of growing and aging populations, developing countries are disproportionately affected by the increasing numbers of cancers, the report says.
More than 60% of the world’s total cases occur in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, and these regions account for about 70% of the world’s cancer deaths, a situation that is made worse by the lack of early detection and access to treatment, it says.
There’s a need for access to effective and affordable cancer treatments in developing countries, including for childhood cancers, which would significantly reduce mortality, the report says.
The total annual cost globally of cancer was estimated to reach approximately $1.16 trillion in 2010, which is damaging the economies of even the richest countries and is way beyond the reach of developing countries, the report says.
– Worldwide cancer cases expected to soar by 70% over next 20 years (Guardian, Feb 3, 2014):
Cancer cases worldwide are predicted to increase by 70% over the next two decades, from 14m in 2012 to 25m new cases a year, according to the World Health Organisation.
The latest World Cancer Report says it is implausible to think we can treat our way out of the disease and that the focus must now be on preventing new cases. Even the richest countries will struggle to cope with the spiralling costs of treatment and care for patients, and the lower income countries, where numbers are expected to be highest, are ill-equipped for the burden to come.
The incidence of cancer globally has increased in just four years from 12.7m in 2008 to 14.1m new cases in 2012, when there were 8.2m deaths. Over the next 20 years, it is expected to hit 25m a year – a 70% increase.
The biggest burden will be in low- and middle-income countries. They are hit by two types of cancers – those triggered by infections, such as cervical cancers, which are still very prevalent in poorer countries that don’t have screening, let alone the HPV vaccine, and increasingly cancers associated with more affluent lifestyles “with increasing use of tobacco, consumption of alcohol and highly processed foods and lack of physical activity”, writes the World Health Organisation director general, Margaret Chan, in an introduction to the report.
Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed among men (16.7% of cases) and the biggest killer (23.6% of deaths). Breast cancer is the most common diagnosis in women (25.2%) and caused 14.7% of deaths, which is a drop and only just exceeds lung cancer deaths in women (13.8%). Bowel, prostate and stomach cancer are the other most common diagnoses.
“Despite exciting advances, the report shows that we cannot treat our way out if the cancer problem,” said Dr Christopher Wild, director if the International Agency for Research on Cancer and joint author of the report. “More commitment to prevention and early detection is desperately needed in order to complement improved treatments and address the alarming rise in cancer burden globally.”
Alcohol, obesity and physical inactivity are all preventable causes of cancer along with tobacco, the report says. Its authors call for discussion on ways forward, which could include taxes of sweet calorific drinks.