Astounding Death Rates caused by Cancer Increasing
Despite the recent good news that cancer incidence and death rates for men and women in the United States continue to decline, cancer is projected to become the leading cause of death worldwide in the year 2010, and low- and middle-income countries will feel the impact of higher cancer incidence and death rates more sharply than industrialized countries.
The nation’s leading cancer organizations joined forces Dec. 9 at an event called Conquering Cancer: A Global Effort, to focus attention on the growing global cancer burden and discuss efforts needed to address the problem. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released the new edition of the World Cancer Report. The American Cancer Society, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure discussed how each organization is addressing the global cancer problem and together issued a call to action for the incoming United States presidential administration and Congress. In addition, a new international documentary film entitled “Cancer Is…” was premiered.
According to the new report, the burden of cancer doubled globally between 1975 and 2000. It is estimated that it will double again by 2020 and nearly triple by 2030. This translates to far greater numbers of people living with – and dying from – the disease. The report estimates that there were some 12 million new cancer diagnoses worldwide this year, and more than seven million people will die from the disease. The projected numbers for the year 2030 are 20-26 million new diagnoses and 13-17 million deaths.
The growing cancer burden includes global increases of incidence of about one percent each year, with larger increases in China, Russia, and India. Reasons for the increased rates include adoption of Western habits in less developed countries, such as tobacco use and higher-fat diets, and demographic changes, including a projected population increase of 38 percent in less developed countries between 2008 and 2030.
In addition to increases in cancer incidence and death rates, the report identifies challenges in cancer care, especially in Africa, where pain management and palliative care are very limited because any use of narcotics is prohibited by law in several countries.
Sharing the stage were John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer, American Cancer Society; Lance Armstrong, founder and chairman, Lance Armstrong Foundation; Hala Moddelmog, president and chief executive officer, Susan G. Komen for the Cure; Peter Boyle, B.Sc., Ph.D., D.Sc.(Med), director, International Agency for Research on Cancer; Alejandro Mohar Betancourt, M.D., Sc.D., director, National Cancer Institute of Mexico, and Bill Gregory, a throat cancer survivor.
The American Cancer Society’s Seffrin said, “For all of our 95 years the Society has pursued the vow of our founders to eliminate cancer in all humankind. We recognize that cancer strikes without regard to borders or socioeconomic status, and we support cancer control initiatives in more than 20 countries, and fund capacity building and tobacco control grants in some 70 countries – including the launch next week of our tobacco Quitline® in India. It is my hope that by bringing proven interventions to places in the world impacted most by this disease, we can diminish needless suffering and save many lives.”