Developing countries are
expected to bear the brunt of a significant rise in cancer cases due to their
adoption of western lifestyles, a report released Monday by the World Health
Organisation (WHO) shows.
The number of new cancer
diagnoses, which stood at 14 million in 2012, is set to rise to 25 million
annually over the next two decades, according to the WHO's latest World Cancer
report. Low- and middle-income countries – including those in Africa, Asia and
Latin America – will be hit hardest by the increase.
Causes of cancer
"[The] increasing use
of tobacco, consumption of alcohol and highly processed foods and lack of
physical activity" mean that the proportion of cancer deaths will be
higher in developing countries, WHO director general Margaret Chan said in the report,
adding that a lack of early detection and access to treatment were also to
Currently, more than 60% of
the world's total cases occur in Africa, Asia and Central and South America.
These regions account for
about 70% of the world's cancer deaths. The report has found that not only
developing countries, but also high-income regions including the United States
and Western Europe are poorly equipped to deal with the rising cancer burden.
Alarming rise in cancer
"More commitment to
prevention and early detection is desperately needed in order to complement
improved treatments and address the alarming rise in cancer burden
globally," said Christopher Wild, one of the report's authors and head of
the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
The report also offers
several policies to tackle the rise in new cancer cases, including higher taxes
on unhealthy food products.
Cancer cure rates on the rise
Worldwide cancer rates to rise
Nearly 14 million cancer survivors