December 9, 2008

Cancer to be leading global cause of death

U.S. cancer deaths continue to decline, but cancer will become the leading cause of death worldwide in 2010, researchers predict.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer released the new edition of the World Cancer Report that reveals low- and middle-income countries will feel the impact of higher cancer incidence and death rates more sharply than industrialized countries.

The report said the burden of cancer doubled globally from 1975 to 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 of -- the disease. The report estimates that there were about 12 million new cancer diagnoses worldwide this year, and more than 7 million people will die of the disease. The projected numbers for the year 2030 are 20 million to 26 million new diagnoses and 13 million to 17 million deaths, the report estimated.

The growing cancer burden includes global increases of incidence of about 1 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, as well as demographic changes such as a projected population increase of 38 percent in less-developed countries from 2008 to 2030.