Global Cancer Deaths Expected to Rise to Nearly 10 Million This Year

By Sarah Garcia - September 20, 2018

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide, and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) cancer deaths are expected to rise to nearly 10 million this year.

WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer released the latest estimates on the global cancer burden this week. According to the data, there will be an estimated 18.1 million new cases of cancer and nearly 9.6 million cancer deaths.

The organization cites several factors for the increases, including a growing and aging population as well as greater incidence of certain cancers linked to social and economic development.

Key Facts on the Global Cancer Burden
  • One in 5 men and one in 6 women worldwide will develop cancer during their lifetime
  • One in 8 men and one in 11 women die from the disease
  • Lung, breast (female) and colorectal are the top three cancer types
  • Lung cancer is a leading cause of death in both men and women
  • Effectivepreventioneffortsmayexplaindecreaseinincidence of some cancers, such as lung and cervical
    • However despite prevention efforts, the data show most countries still face an increase in the absolute number of cases being diagnosed
Dr. Susan Vadaparampil, Vice Chair, Health Outcomes and Behavior Program

Dr. Susan T. Vadaparampil, vice chair of Moffitt’s Health Outcomes and Behavior Program, says the new data is discouraging. “These new figures show that men and women continue to develop cancers for which we have prevention and early detection strategies. We must redouble our efforts to achieve global health equity by increasing availability and access to these strategies around the world,” she added.

Lowering Your Risk

Although cancer can be unpredictable and prevention is constantly evolving, there are many known and manageable risk factors. Even simple lifestyle changes may prevent or reduce your cancer risks.

  • Avoid tobacco and secondhand smoke. Tobacco is associated with many types of cancer and can damage nearly every organ in the body.
  • Have regular cancer screenings. Regular cancer screenings can detect problems before symptoms even appear.
  • Protect yourself from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Skin cancer is one of the most common and preventable types.
  • See (and talk with) your physician. Schedule regular wellness exams and discuss family history and other risk factors to develop a preventive healthcare plan that is appropriate for you.
  • Be active every day. Studies link regular physical activity with reduced risk of several types of cancer, among other health benefits.

Many of these healthy behaviors and lifestyle changes are clearly linked to a reduction in cancer incidence, according to Dr. Vadaparampil. “These are strategies that are low cost and can be performed by the individual. Every time these behaviors are not done, we have missed an opportunity for cancer prevention.”

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