The world is in danger of being swept away by a cancer "tidal wave" as the World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that cancer cases will increase to 24 million a year by 2035. However, the WHO said half of those cases can be prevented.
The report highlighted the need to focus on cancer prevention by curbing obesity, smoking and drinking alcohol. The World Cancer Research Fund has observed an "alarming" level of ignorance when it comes to the role of diet in developing cancer.
According to the WHO report, about 14 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year but it will reach 19 million by 2025 before hitting 24 million by 2035.
WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer director Chris Wild told BBC that global concern for cancer is on the rise due largely to the growing and aging population. Mr Wild said cancer treatment costs are "spiraling out of control" even in developed nations. Cancer prevention is crucial to avoid the burden of treatments.
According to the World Cancer Report 2014, smoking, infections, obesity, alcohol, air pollution, radiation are said to be the major sources of "preventable" cancer.
Dr Bernard Stewart from Australia's University of NSW who is also one of the authors of the WHO report said cancer prevention plays a critical role in fighting the "tidal wave" of cancer. In Australia and around the world, cancer remains the biggest killer.
Role of cancer research
For most countries, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. New research developments like the one in New Zealand can help women beat breast cancer. A new approach to breast cancer treatment developed by New Zealand researchers could prove to be cheaper, safer and more effective. Researchers were inspired by the initial findings of a major study in the country which may be the best way to fight an aggressive type of breast cancer.
The new approach involves nano-medicine to target and destroy cancer cells. Otago University researchers are currently investigating the treatment which is funded by the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation and could prove to a safer alternative to the traditional approach. While the research is still in its pre-clinical stages, the research team hopes clinical trials can begin in two to three years.
To contact the editor, e-mail: