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Prevention could avoid 50% of the world’s cancers

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Prevention could avoid 50% of the world’s cancers

The director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Dr Christopher Wild, said last Friday that in the fight against cancer an integrated approach to prevention, early detection and treatment is fundamental. In fact, according to the World Cancer Report 2014, 50% of cancers are preventable.

During the Global Health Lecture, co-organized by ISGlobal, CRESIB and CREAL, Dr Wild noted that recent advances in molecular (epi)genetics of cancer are offering exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary approaches to cancer prevention.

The IARC director offered a global overview of worldwide cancer incidence. Among some of the figures, he highlighted the fact that lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancers are the most prevalent in the world. Nonetheless, there are some differences according to gender and location; for example, prostate cancer in men is more common in Europe, Africa and America, and lung cancer is more prevalent in Asia. In contrast, breast cancer accounts for 25% of cancers in women worldwide and 20% of all cancer survivors. Despite all this, the director of the IARC noted that "cancer is a non-static global problem."

Global Cancer Rates
According to the IARC report, 1 in 5 men and 1 in 6 women worldwide will develop cancer before the age of 75, and 1 in 8 men and 1 in 12 women will die from the disease.

Furthermore, it stresses that the number of new cases of cancer per year worldwide will increase by 70% over the next twenty years, from 14.1 million to 24 million in 2035. The number of deaths per year will almost double from the current 8.2 million to 14.6 million by 2035. This epidemic, despite its high incidence worldwide, will spread massively in less developed countries, with an increase of 44% over the next ten years, while in rich countries, the increase will be 20%.

The hope lies in prevention. Furthermore, the priority is clear because, according to Dr Wild, "we have a duty to care for patients of today and the populations of tomorrow."

World Cancer Report 2014: http://www.iarc.fr/en/publications/books/wcr/wcr-order.php


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