WHO forecasts a 77% surge in global cancer cases by 2050 in latest report

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Global cancer cases are expected to surge to 35 million by 2050, signifying a 77% increase from 2022 according to a WHO report.

NEW YORK, Feb 3: New estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal a concerning projection for global cancer diagnoses, anticipating a surge to 35 million cases by 2050. This represents a staggering 77% increase from the 20 million cases reported in 2022. The data, released by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, encompasses 185 countries and 36 different cancer types.

Lung cancer emerged as the most prevalent form globally in 2022, with 2.5 million cases, constituting 12.4% of the total diagnoses. It was followed by female breast, colorectal, prostate, and stomach cancers. Unfortunately, lung cancer also claimed the most lives, causing 1.8 million deaths, approximately 19% of the total.

The WHO report emphasizes disparities in cancer burdens across developed nations. In countries with a high Human Development Index, breast cancer diagnoses and fatalities are more prevalent compared to low-HDI countries. These differences are attributed to late-stage diagnoses and limited access to treatments in less developed nations.

Inequities extend to cancer services, including radiation and stem cell transplants. Dr. Bente Mikkelsen, Director of WHO’s Department of Noncommunicable Diseases, highlighted the lack of financial protection for cancer care globally. WHO is collaborating with over 75 governments to develop and implement policies promoting equitable cancer care, but substantial investments are urgently required to address these disparities.

Several factors contribute to the anticipated rise in cancer rates, including obesity, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and environmental factors such as air pollution. In the United States, although cancer deaths have decreased by 33% from 1991 to 2021, certain forms of the disease exhibit increasing incidence rates. Racial disparities persist, emphasizing the need for ongoing efforts to address these challenges in cancer prevention, detection, and treatment.

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