Report estimates 2007 global cancer figures

In collaboration with the Press Association

Approximately 20,000 people have died from cancer every day across the globe in 2007, a new report has found.

Figures collated by the American Cancer Society show that by the end of the year, there will have been more than 12 million new cancer cases and 7.6 million deaths from the disease worldwide.

The majority of cancer cases and deaths (6.7 million and 4.7 million respectively) will have occurred in developing nations, while 5.4 million cases and 2.9 million deaths will have occurred in economically developed countries.

According to the authors of the first ever Global Cancer Facts & Figures report, around 15 per cent of all cancers are related to infection.

Developing nations bear the brunt of infection-related cancers, with the percentage of such cancers being around three times higher in developing countries (26 per cent) than in developed countries (eight per cent).

The report also reveals that the three most common male cancers in developed countries are prostate, lung and colorectal (bowel), while in women the three most commonly diagnosed forms of the disease are breast, colorectal and lung cancer.

In developing countries however, the most common forms of the disease are lung, stomach and liver cancer in men, and breast, cervical, and stomach cancer in women.

This shows the impact of infection-related cancers in the developing world, as stomach, liver and cervical cancers are all linked to infection.

Report co-author Dr Ahmedin Jemal, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society, commented: "The burden of cancer is increasing in developing countries as deaths from infectious diseases and childhood mortality decline and more people live to older ages when cancer most frequently occurs.

"This cancer burden is also increasing as people in the developing countries adopt western lifestyles such as cigarette smoking, higher consumption of saturated fat and calorie-dense foods, and reduced physical activity."

The report also contains a dedicated section on tobacco, which is estimated to have caused the deaths of five million people in 2000 - nearly a third of whom died from cancer - and around 100 million people during the 20th century as a whole.

Predictions suggest that more than one billion people will die as a result of tobacco use in the 21st century.