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9.6m people now suffer cancer – WHO

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Lung, breast cancers top number of cases

NUMBER of cancer patients all over the world has reached the 9.6 million mark in 2018.

This figure was quoted by a report of the Global Cancer Statistics 2018 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released yesterday, adding that the number is growing rapidly, with  about 18 million new cases.

According to the report, 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 and are together responsible for one third of the cancer incidence and mortality burden worldwide.

It further warned that one in five men and one in six women worldwide develop cancer during their lifetime, with one in eight men and one in 11 women likely to die from the disease, with total global number of people who are alive within five years of a cancer diagnosis, also called the five-year prevalence, estimated at 43.8 million.

A further analysis of the report shows that lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer cases in men, accounting for 14.5 per cent of the total cases in men and 8.4 per cent in women, and the leading cause of cancer death in men, proving the leading cause of cancer death in women in 28 countries, with the highest incidence rates in women seen in North America, Northern and Western Europe, China, and Australia and New Zealand.

The report holds socio-economic factors responsible for the increasing cancer burden globally including population growth and ageing as well as the changing prevalence of certain causes of cancer linked to social and economic development. 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 industrialised countries.

It will be recalled that IARC is an agency of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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