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WHO Report: Cancer Deaths Up Sharply Worldwide

Breast cancer also on the rise (December 12)

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), has released the latest data on cancer incidence, mortality, and prevalence worldwide.

According to the report, an estimated 14.1 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths occurred in 2012, compared with 12.7 million and 7.6 million, respectively, in 2008. Prevalence estimates for 2012 show that there were 32.6 million people (over the age of 15 years) alive whose cancer was diagnosed in the previous 5 years.

The most commonly diagnosed cancers worldwide were those of the lung (1.8 million, 13.0% of the total), breast (1.7 million, 11.9%), and colorectum (1.4 million, 9.7%). 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 report also notes a sharp rise in breast cancer worldwide. In 2012, 1.7 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer, and there were 6.3 million women alive who had been diagnosed with the disease in the previous 5 years. Since the 2008 estimates, the incidence of breast cancer has increased by more than 20% and mortality has increased by 14%. Breast cancer is also the most common cause of cancer death among women (522,000 deaths in 2012) and the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in 140 of 184 countries worldwide. It now represents one in four of all cancers in women.

Generally, worldwide trends show that in developing countries going through rapid societal and economic changes, the shift towards lifestyles typical of industrialized countries leads to a rising burden of cancers associated with reproductive, dietary, and hormonal risk factors, the report says.

Source: IARC; December 12, 2013.

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