United Nations cancer agency: 18 million new cancer cases this year

18 million new cancer cases this year: WHO

UN cancer agency: 18 million new cancer cases this year

There will be 18.1 million new cases of cancer and 9.6 million people will die with the disease this year worldwide, a report predicts.

"A lot of those (cancer cases) could be prevented, with key prevention efforts focusing on some of the main risk factors which we have heard about: tobacco consumption, alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity and improper diet", said Dr. Etienne Krug, director of WHO's department of non-communicable diseases.

The research agency, part of the United Nations and World Health Organization, estimated in its latest annual GLOBOCAN report that cancer will account for one in eight deaths among men and one in 11 among women.

He called for efficient prevention and early detection policies to be implemented urgently "to control this devastating disease across the world". The researchers have opined that although there has been an improvement in the way the cancer-related data are collected, it is evident that deaths owing to the condition have risen over the years.

In developed countries, prevention efforts are helping drive down the rates of various cancers, including those of the lung and cervix, while developing countries are increasingly affected by cancers typically linked to social and economic development, like colon cancer.

This is particularly true in rapidly growing economies, where a shift is observed from cancers related to poverty and infections to cancers associated with lifestyles more typical of industrialized countries.

Cancers of lung, female breast, and colorectum are the top three cancers in terms of incidence, and are ranked within the top five in terms of mortality. Most cancer cases occur in the older population, which is growing in the country.

Global patterns showed that for men and women combined, almost half of new cancer cases and more than half of cancer deaths worldwide in 2018 will be in Asia, in part because the region has almost 60 per cent of the global population.

Europe accounts for 23.4 per cent of global cancer cases and 20.3 per cent of cancer deaths, although it has only 9 per cent of the global population.

Krug said it was also critical that countries ensure access to fast diagnosis and treatment, noting: "For those who have cancer, cancer should not be a death sentence anymore".

Lung cancer - mainly caused by smoking - is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, the report said.

The highest incidence rates of this form of the disease in women are in North America, Northern and Western Europe - notably Denmark and the Netherlands - China, and Australia and New Zealand; with Hungary topping the list.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) provides regular snapshots of the scale of cancer around the world, looking closely at 36 different cancers in 185 countries.

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