Cancer Incidence May Surge 75% by 2030, Lancet Says

The global incidence of cancer may rise more than 75 percent by 2030, led by developing countries, according to research published today in the Lancet journal.

The number of people with cancer in 2030 may rise to 22.2 million, or 0.3 percent of the global population, from 12.7 million in 2008, according to research led by Freddie Bray of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France. The projection is based on the United Nations’s population forecast, the IARC’s database tracking cancer incidence in 184 countries and expected increases in the rates of colorectal, female breast, prostate and, in high-income countries, lung cancer in women.

While improving living standards in lower-income countries may lead to a decrease in infection-related cancers such as cervical and stomach cancer, that may be offset by a surge in the types of cancer associated with smoking, obesity and diet which currently affect mainly richer countries. Poor countries, as measured by the UN’s Human Development Index, may see a doubling in the incidence of cancer to 490,000 in 2030 from 2008, according to the study.

“This study underscores the diversity of cancer as a worldwide occurrence and the extent to which the disease patterns differ from country to country,” the authors said in the article. Targeted interventions are needed to “effectively control the prevalence of lifestyle factors including tobacco avoidance and cessation of smoking, a reduction in alcohol consumption and obesity, and the promotion of increased levels of physical activity.”

The richest countries currently bear much of the cancer burden, with almost 40 percent of the global incidence occurring in these countries, while having only 15 percent of the world’s population. The most commonly diagnosed cancers in these areas are colorectal, lung, female breast, prostate and stomach.

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