Global cancer death toll 50 per cent higher in men than women

Cancer Research UK

Global cancer death rates are more than 50 per cent higher in men than women, according to figures published today (Friday) by Cancer Research UK.

The statistics reveal that more than 4.6 million men die from the disease every year –equivalent to 126 men in every 100,000, compared to around 3.5 million women – 82 women per 100,000.*

The total number of global cancer deaths stands at more than eight million each year. The four biggest killers are lung, liver, stomach and bowel cancers, which together are responsible for nearly half of all cancer deaths globally.

And, across the globe, there is wide variation in men’s death rates, which are highest in Central and Eastern Europe. East Africa has the highest death rates for women and is one of the few areas where rates for women are higher than for men. But the accuracy of the data also varies substantially – countries in the developed world with higher rates of cancer are more likely to have better data sources and therefore more accurate cancer data.

The figures also show that, every year, more than 14 million people around the world are diagnosed with cancer, with men 24 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with the disease.** 

The figures, compiled by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, are announced as Cancer Research UK unveils a new interactive map, which compares cancer statistics from around the world. The map shows the variation in incidence, mortality and, importantly, the reliability of the data in each country and region. You can see the map by visiting: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/cancerstats/world/

Nick Ormiston-Smith, head of statistics at Cancer Research UK, said: “The contrast in cancer death rates between the sexes may be down to more men being diagnosed with types of cancers that are harder to treat, such as cancers of the bladder, liver, lung and oesophagus.

“Cancer is estimated to account for around 16 per cent of all deaths worldwide. Age is the biggest risk factor for most cancers and, as global life-expectancy increases, we’ll see more people being diagnosed with the disease.

“But lifestyle also plays an important role. Worldwide, tobacco consumption has been responsible for an estimated 100 million deaths in the last century and, if current trends continue, it will kill 1,000 million in the 21st century. Smoking is by far the most important preventable cause of cancer in the world.”

Dr Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “The latest figures show men are more likely to get cancer, and they’re also more likely to die from it, than women. It’s vital for governments around the world to tackle these inequalities.

“Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in almost half of all countries. That means we’re all facing a similar challenge in the fight against cancer.

“Global research efforts have dramatically improved survival and are giving more people than ever the best possible chance of beating the disease. But we know there’s still a lot more to do if we’re going to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.”

ENDS

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Notes to Editor

*Rates have been standardised to the World Age Standard

**Incidence rates:
Men - 205.4 per 100,000 population
Women - 165.3 per 100,000 population
Total - 182.3 per 100,000 population