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December 9, 2008

Cancer Rates To Double By 2030

International health experts said Tuesday that cancer will be the world's leading cause of death by 2010, with rates of cancer more than doubling by 2030.  

The trend was largely attributed to improvements in cancer diagnoses and the increasing use of tobacco in developing countries, particularly India and China, which now include 40 percent of the world's smokers. The experts also pointed to a downward trend in infectious diseases that were formerly the world's top killers.

The report was released Tuesday by the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer at a news conference with the American Cancer Society, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Cancer Institute of Mexico.

Global cancer diagnoses have been consistently on the rise, and are expected to reach 12 million this year alone, with 7 million deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

An annual one percent rise in both cases and deaths is expected, with even larger increases in Russia, China and India. 

According to the report, annual new cases of cancer will likely surge to 27 million by 2030, with deaths reaching 17 million.

The report cited the predicted rise in the global population as playing a role in the increased cancer cases -- meaning there are simply more people around to get cancer.

John Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society, called the gathering of organizations "unprecedented", and said it was an attempt to draw the world's attention to the threat posed by cancer. 

The organizations are urging the U.S. government to fund cervical cancer vaccinations and to ratify an international tobacco control treaty.

"If we take action, we can keep the numbers from going where they would otherwise go," Seffrin told the Associated Press.

Other organizations are also supporting the call to action. 

"Cancer is one of the greatest untold health crises of the developing world," said Dr. Douglas Blayney, president-elect of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

"Few are aware that cancer already kills more people in poor countries than HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined. And if current smoking trends continue, the problem will get significantly worse," he said.
 
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