Cancer incidence predicted to increase 75 percent by 2030

May 31, 2012

The global cancer burden is set to surge more than 75% by 2030, according to new research published Online First in the Lancet Oncology. The rise is predicted to be even larger in the developing world, with the poorest countries experiencing a projected increase of more than 90%.

The study, led by Dr Freddie Bray of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, is the first to examine how the current and future patterns of incidence and mortality of different vary between countries with different levels of development, as measured by their Human Development Index (HDI).

Although incidence rates and the burden of some types of cancer (such as and ) appear to be mainly declining in countries transitioning socially and economically towards higher levels of human development, the reduction is likely to be offset by a substantial increase in the types of cancer more associated with a so-called "Westernised" lifestyle, including breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer.

"Cancer is already the leading cause of death in many high-income countries and is set to become a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the next decades in every region of the world; this study serves as an important reference point in drawing attention to the need for global action to reduce the increasing burden of cancer", states Dr Bray.

The study used data from GLOBOCAN, a database compiled by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) comprising of estimates of cancer incidence and mortality in 2008 in 184 countries worldwide. The researchers describe how patterns of the most common types of cancer varied according to four levels of human development. These findings were then used to project how the cancer burden is likely to change by 2030 in light of predicted changes in and ageing, as well as the changing trends in incidence rates of six of the most common types of cancer in countries with medium, high and very high levels of HDI.

Countries with a low HDI (predominantly countries in sub-Saharan Africa) currently experience a high incidence of cancers associated with infection, particularly cervical cancer and, dependent on the region or country, liver cancer, stomach cancer and Kaposi's sarcoma. By contrast, countries with a higher HDI (such as the UK, Australia, Russia, and Brazil) have a greater burden of cancers more commonly associated with smoking (lung cancer), reproductive risk factors, obesity and diet (female breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer).

While increasing living standards in the coming decades in lower-HDI countries may lead to a decrease in the burden of some infection-related cancers, the authors warn that, irrespective of future developments, there may be a surge in the types of cancer which currently affect mainly higher-HDI countries. They predict that demographic changes as well as changing trends in cancer incidence rates could lead to a large increase in the cancer burden in lower or medium HDI countries, with medium HDI countries (such as South Africa, China, and India) predicted to experience an increase of 78% in the number of cancer cases by 2030, and low HDI countries predicted to undergo a 93% increase over the same period. The study also revealed the following trends:

  • Prostate cancer and female breast cancer incidence rates appear to be rising in most countries currently with medium, high, or very high levels of HDI.
  • Stomach cancer and cervical cancer are predominantly decreasing in countries with medium, high, or very high levels of HDI, although for cervix cancer, there are a number of exceptions.
  • In countries with high and very high HDI levels, lung cancer tend to be decreasing in men, but increasing in women, though in a given country this is dependent on the current stage of the tobacco epidemic; while lung cancer is not a leading cancer in low HDI regions at present, it will become a leading cause of cancer unless tobacco smoking is effectively controlled in these areas.
  • In 2008, almost 40% of the incident cases of cancer that occur globally occur in very high HDI countries, despite these regions containing just 15% of the world's population.
While the authors point out that their predictions are constrained by incomplete data on for many countries, particularly in the developing world, their results nonetheless provide a startling indicator of likely global cancer trends over the next few decades.

Dr Christopher Wild, IARC Director said: "This study reveals the dynamic nature of cancer patterns in a given region of the world over time. Countries must take account of the specific challenges they will face and prioritise targeted interventions to combat the projected increases in burden via effective primary prevention strategies, early detection, and effective treatment programmes".

Explore further: Study finds liver cancer increasing in low risk countries, decreasing in high risk countries

More information: Study online: www.thelancet.com/journals/lan … (12)70211-5/abstract

Related Stories

Study finds liver cancer increasing in low risk countries, decreasing in high risk countries

October 6, 2011
A new study finds liver cancer incidence rates continue to increase in some low-risk parts of the world such as North America, and are decreasing in some of the highest risk countries of Asia. Despite this, the incidence ...

Lifestyle changes can help prevent 30% of cancers: WHO

February 3, 2012
More than 30 percent of cancers can be prevented by lifestyle changes, the World Health Organization said Friday, on the eve of World Cancer Day.

Canada should play a role in addressing the global cancer epidemic: researchers

April 10, 2012
Cancer is a growing health concern in low- and middle-income countries, and there is an opportunity for Canada to make a significant contribution to help tackle the disease, states an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association ...

Recommended for you

Lung cancer triggers pulmonary hypertension

November 17, 2017
Shortness of breath and respiratory distress often increase the suffering of advanced-stage lung cancer patients. These symptoms can be triggered by pulmonary hypertension, as scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Heart ...

Researchers discover an Achilles heel in a lethal leukemia

November 16, 2017
Researchers have discovered how a linkage between two proteins in acute myeloid leukemia enables cancer cells to resist chemotherapy and showed that disrupting the linkage could render the cells vulnerable to treatment. St. ...

Computer program finds new uses for old drugs

November 16, 2017
Researchers at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have developed a computer program to find new indications for old drugs. The computer program, called DrugPredict, ...

Pharmacoscopy improves therapy for relapsed blood cancer in a first clinical trial

November 16, 2017
Researchers at CeMM and the Medical University of Vienna presented a preliminary report in The Lancet Hematology on the clinical impact of an integrated ex vivo approach called pharmacoscopy. The procedures measure single-cell ...

Wider sampling of tumor tissues may guide drug choice, improve outcomes

November 15, 2017
A new study focused on describing genetic variations within a primary tumor, differences between the primary and a metastatic branch of that tumor, and additional diversity found in tumor DNA in the blood stream could help ...

A new strategy for prevention of liver cancer development

November 14, 2017
Primary liver cancer is now the second leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, and its incidences and mortality are increasing rapidly in the United Stated. In late stages of the malignancy, there are no effective ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.