Global cancer cases to rise to 19 million a year by 2025

In collaboration with the Press Association

A global focus on cancer prevention will be needed to help stem the continued rise in cancer cases around the world, an international organisation reports.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – part of the World Health Organisation – predict that new cancer cases will rise to 19.3 million per year by 2025.

“We know that in the UK more than 4 in 10 cancers can be prevented by lifestyle changes" - Matt Wickenden, Cancer Research UK

Looking at 28 types of cancer across 184 countries, IARC’s GLOBOCAN 2012 database shows there were 14.1 million new cancer cases in 2012, compared with 12.7 million in 2008.

There were also 8.2 million cancer-related deaths last year, compared with 7.6 million five years ago.

Matt Wickenden, Cancer Research UK’s senior statistical information officer, said that age is the biggest risk factor for cancer and as people around the world are living longer, the risk of being diagnosed with cancer will continue to rise.

More than half of all cancers (56.8 per cent) in 2012 affected people from less developed regions of the world, emphasising a need for better efforts to prevent the disease in these parts of the world.

The analysis also highlights that cancer death rates are much higher in less developed countries due to a lack of early detection and access to treatment.

In most of the countries assessed, breast cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women, representing a quarter of all cancers in females.

Dr David Forman, head of the IARC section of cancer information, said that breast cancer was a leading cause of cancer death in the less developed countries of the world.

"This is partly because a shift in lifestyles is causing an increase in incidence, and partly because clinical advances to combat the disease are not reaching women living in these regions", he added.

Lung cancer was the most common cancer globally, accounting for 13 per cent of all cancers (1.8 million cases). 

Mr Wickenden, said: “We know that in the UK more than 4 in 10 cancers can be prevented by lifestyle changes and worldwide, smoking is the single largest preventable cause of cancer – particularly lung cancers.”

“The devastating impact of this can be clearly seen with lung cancer remaining the biggest cause of cancer death globally and that’s why research into more effective treatments for this disease is one of Cancer Research UK’s key priorities.”

“We’re also campaigning to put all tobacco products in plain, standardised packs, reducing the appeal of cigarettes and giving millions of children one less reason to start smoking.”

“But it’s not all bad news, in the UK more people than ever now survive. Thanks to research, survival rates have doubled in the last 40 years and our understanding of cancer is growing clearer every day.”

Copyright Press Association 2013