'Tidal wave of cancer' will sweep the globe in next 20 years, warn WHO scientists

 

Health Reporter

Immediate action is required to combat a ‘tidal wave of cancer’ that will sweep the globe in the next 20 years, scientists at the World Health Organisation have warned.

The number of new cancer cases worldwide in a single year will rise by 70 per cent  from 14.1 million in 2012 to 24 million in 2035, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said in their latest World Cancer Report.

The future global burden of cancer will increasingly shift to poorer countries, WHO said, but it added that half of all world cancers are now preventable with existing medical knowledge and expertise.

Annual deaths from cancer will almost double in the same time period from 8.2 million to 14.6 million.

One of the report's editors, Dr Bernard Stewart from the University of New South Wales in Australia, said that modifications to human behaviour, such as reducing alcohol consumption, would play a “crucial role in combating the tidal wave of cancer which we see coming across the world”.

"In relation to alcohol, for example, we're all aware of the acute effects, whether it's car accidents or assaults,” he said. “But there's a burden of disease that's not talked about because it's simply not recognised, specifically involving cancer.

"The extent to which we modify the availability of alcohol, the labelling of alcohol, the promotion of alcohol and the price of alcohol - those things should be on the agenda."

Less developed countries will see an increase in cancer incidence – the number of new cases per year – of 44 per cent in the next decade, whereas in richer countries, incidence rates will only increase by 20 per cent.

The inequalities are largely down to varying levels of access to both cancer treatments and preventative healthcare – such as screening programmes and vaccines for cancers caused by infections like the human papilloma virus (HPV). However, the gap between countries will widen as people in less developed nations increasingly adopt “industrialised lifestyles” – smoking and drinking more, and eating more highly processed food.

Dr Christopher Wild, director of IARC and co-editor of the World Cancer Report 2014 said it was clear the world would never “treat its way out of cancer” and emphasised the role that prevention should play in years to come.

“Since the middle of the last century, enormous progress has been made in identifying the causes of cancer, so that more than 50 per cent of cases could be prevented based on current knowledge,” he writes, in the report’s preface.

“…Collectively this knowledge provides a huge potential for reducing the cancer burden; one can only imagine the interest that would follow an announcement of the availability of new cancer treatments able to cure 50 per cent of patients. Therefore prevention must be writ large in cancer control plans if we are to defy the dark prediction of the statistics.”

Smoking is responsible for around 20 per cent of all cancers globally and lung cancers are the most common form of cancer in the world, accounting for 13 per cent of all cases and 19 per cent of all cancer deaths.

However, Dr Wild said that the lessons learned from the fight against tobacco, which has included legislation from many countries in the form taxation, bans on advertising, and bans on smoking in public places, may need to be applied to other areas of cancer prevention, such as reducing alcohol intake.

Dr Wild said: ”The rise of cancer worldwide is a major obstacle to human development and well-being. These new figures and projections send a strong signal that immediate action is needed to confront this human disaster, which touches every community worldwide, without exception."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Qualified Primary Teaching Assistant

    £64 - £73 per day + Competitive rates based on experience : Randstad Education...

    Primary KS2 NQTs required in Lambeth

    £117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

    Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

    £117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

    Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

    £117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam