A recent study conducted by investigators at the American Cancer Society and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) revealed that lung cancer is now the leading mortality cause in females in developed countries.
The study was recently published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, and in Global Cancer Facts & Figures 3rd Edition, both released on World Cancer Day. The report is based on world estimations of cancer incidence and mortality collected by the IARC for 2012 (GLOBOCAN series).
Cancer is a major societal burden in both developed and developing countries. Its increasing trend is related to population growth and aging, and also due to risk factors such as smoking, being overweight, lack of physical activity and varying reproductive patterns.
In 2012, an estimated 14.1 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million cancer deaths occurred worldwide. In developing countries the most commonly diagnosed and fatal cancers for both genders are lung and breast cancer. In developed countries the most common cancers appear to be prostate and breast cancer in men and women, respectively. However, lung cancer is the major cause of mortality both in men and women.
“A substantial proportion of the worldwide burden of cancer can be prevented through the application of existing cancer control knowledge, including tobacco control, vaccination (for liver and cervical cancers), early detection, and the promotion of physical activity and healthy dietary patterns,” the researchers wrote in a recent press release.
The investigators also stated that proper treatments and palliative care could be offered to patients to reduce suffering. In addition to lung cancer, the authors also noted that additional research is necessary to identify the causes of other highly prevalent cancers such as prostate and blood cancers.
Moreover, the authors noted that cancers that used to be highly prevalent in developed countries are also becoming prevalent in countries that adopt a Western lifestyle. “A coordinated and intensified response from all sectors of society, including governments, civil society, the private sector, and individuals, is required to seize control of the growing burden of cancer,” they added.