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2007 cancer toll to hit 7.6 million

17th December 2007

Around 7.6 million people are expected die of cancer in 2007, the equivalent of 20,000 cancer deaths a day, according to a new report which also predicts one billion smoking-related deaths in the 21st century.

cervical cancer

The American Cancer Society report estimates that 5.4 million of those cancers and 2.9 million deaths will occur in economically developed countries, while 6.7 million cases and 4.7 million deaths will occur in economically developing countries.

Survival rates for cancer are worse in poorer countries, which also see a larger proportion--more than one quarter compared with 8% - of infection-related cancers. This is largely due to a lack of early detection and treatment facilities, according to research by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

The most commonly diagnosed cancers in developed countries among both men and women are lung and colorectal cancers, while men are also frequently diagnosed with prostate cancer, while a high incidence of breast cancer is recorded in women.

Ahmedin Jemal, American Cancer Society epidemiologist and co-author of the report, said the cancer burden in developing countries was now increasing amid a decline in deaths from infectious diseases and in child mortality.

The adoption of a more "Western" lifestyle, complete with cigarette smoking, higher consumption of saturated fat and calorie-dense foods, and reduced physical activity, had also contributed to the rise of cancer in the developing world, he said.

The IARC estimates that in 2002 there were approximately 24.6 million people worldwide who had been diagnosed with cancer in the past five years.

The report also pays special attention to the global toll taken by tobacco smoking, with an estimated five million people worldwide dying from tobacco use in the year 2000.

Of these, about 1.42 million, 30% of the total, resulted from cancer, with 850,000 deaths from lung cancer alone.

It estimates, based on IARC statistics, that tobacco was responsible for about 100 million deaths around the world during the 20th century, and it is projected to kill more than 1 billion people in the 21st century.

The majority of smoking-related deaths are expected to occur in developing countries.

The World Health Organisation estimates that approximately 84% of the approximately 1.3 billion smokers in the world live in countries with a developing or transitional economy. China alone is home to 350 million smokers.

 

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