TIM JOHNSON / MCT

A doctor looks for signs of cancer in an X-ray of a patient's lungs.

World Health Organization sees cancer risk rising around the world

Published: Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 - 3:01 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 - 4:42 pm

Women, minorities, and migrants in the United States face a growing risk from cancers of the lung, breast and thyroid, the World Health Organization predicted Thursday and that illness and deaths from cancer will increase by more than 25 percent over the next decade.

The projections are among new data released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the Lyon, France-based cancer research arm of the WHO.

The research agency also projected that cancer will surge around the world by 2025, with 19.3 million new cases diagnosed annually by the, compared to the 2012 number of 14.1 million. By 2025, the number of people expected to die annually from cancer is expected to increase to 11.4 million from the 2012 figure of 8.2 million.

In the United States, the annual number of new cancer cases is expected to reach 2.09 million annually from the the 1.6 million reported in 2012. Cancer-related deaths are expected to climb from 617,229 in 2012 to 851,396 in 2025.

Last year, the most commonly diagnosed cancers worldwide were lung (1.8 million or 13 percent of the total) breast (1.7 million, 11.9 percent) and colon cancer (1.4 million or 9.7 percent), IARC said.

Lung cancer resulted in the deaths of 1.6 million people who died from cancer last year, the report said -- 19.4 percent. Other major cancer killers were liver cancer (800,000 or 9.1 percent), stomach cancer (723,000 or 8.8 percent), colon cancer (694,000 or 8.5 percent), breast cancer (522,000 or 6.4 percent), esophagal cancer (400,000 or 4.9 percent) and cervical cancer (266,000 or 3.2 percent).

The report said that 32.5 million people last year had survived at least five years after being diagnosed.

The report analyzed the prevalence of 28 types of cancer in 184 countries.

Dr David Forman , head of cancer information at IARC, told McClatchy in an interview, that while lung cancer rates have been coming down considerably in men, they've been increasing for women.

Last year in the United States 75,852 women died of lung cancer -- 25.9 percent of all women who died of cancer that year. Breast cancer accounted for 15 percent of female deaths, about 43,000.

"I think the tobacco control message needs to be made much stronger in high-income countries among young women, and perhaps it has been very successfully employed in young men," Forman said.

Forman said that while U.S. cancer deaths are declining among whites, they are growing among migrant populations from Latin America and Asia. Asia. He noted that African Americans "suffered particularly from prostate cancer, and, among women, from breast cancer.

He said there was a direct correlation between alcohol consumption and breast cancer in women.

"There is a dose-response relationship, the more alcohol one consumes the higher one's risk of breast cancer," he observed.

The global study estimates that last year, 57 percent of new cancer cases and 65 percent of cancer deaths occurred in developing regions of the world.

The countries with the highest mortality were China and India, IARC said.

Forman said in South America breast cancer and prostate cancer are epidemic.

The IARC said that while the incidence of cancer has been increasing in most parts of the planet, "there are still huge inequalities between rich and poor countries," with people more likely to die in poorer countries "due to lack of early detection and access to treatment facilities."

The agency estimated that one in five men and one in six women will develop cancer before the age of 75. One of eight men and one in 12 women will die from the disease, the agency projected.

Read more articles by John Zarocostas



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