A Worldwide Killer Remains on the Rise

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By Athena Yenko | February 4, 2014 1:12 PM EST

A report from World Health Organisation (WHO), compiled by more than 250 scientists from 40 countries around the globe, found that Cancer remains on the rise worldwide, causing deaths by 70 per cent over the next 20 years. This had been an increase from 14 million in 2012 to 25 million new cases year per year.

The report was released just in time for the World Cancer Day, Feb. 4.

The most affected countries are those in low and middle income countries - more than 60 per cent of the world's cancer cases and 70 per cent of deaths occurred in Africa, Asia and Central and South America.

"The particularly heavy burden projected to fall on low- and middle-income countries makes it implausible to treat our way out of cancer, even the highest-income countries will struggle to cope with the spiralling costs of treatment and care... the focus should be on prevention," International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) director Christopher Wild, coauthor of the report said.

Meanwhile, high-income countries such as Australia and New Zealand, North America and western Europe; Japan, South Korea had higher figures in terms of its proportion to its population.

"Despite exciting advances, the report shows that we cannot treat our way out of the cancer problem. More commitment to prevention and early detection is desperately needed in order to complement improved treatments and address the alarming rise in cancer burden globally," Mr Wild explained.

By and large, countries are affected by two types of cancer: cancer prompted by infections and cancer associated to unhealthy lifestyle.

Cancer prompted by infections

This type of cancer is usually widespread in poor developing countries which are less educated on preventive screening and vaccines, i.e. cervical cancers and HPV screening.

Cancer associated to unhealthy lifestyle

The most prevalent culprits of this type of cancer are alcohol abused, excessive tobacco use, unbalance consumption of processed foods and lack of physical activity as explained by WHO's director general, Margaret Chan.

"Smoking epidemic... a smoking 'epidemic' is developing in poor nations, increasing cancer rates and consuming scarce resources," the UN said in its report.

The report also highlighted different cancer types killing men and women around the world; although, cancer cases and deaths were higher among men by 53 per cent (cancer cases) and 57 per cent (deaths.)

Lung cancer is more apparent in men (16.7 per cent). UN, WHO and IARC blamed the sales of tobacco saying it is "inextricably linked" to the increase of lung cancer among men.

Prostate cancer killed men by 15 per cent, followed by colorectum by 10 per cent, stomach cancer by 8.5 per cent and liver cancer by 7.5 per cent.

Women on the other hand are mostly killed by breast cancer (25.2 per cent), colorectum (9.2 per cent, lung (8.7 per cent), cervix (7.9 per cent) and stomach (4.8 per cent).

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