|WORLD CANCER DAY, 2008|
Given the continuing growth and ageing of the world's population, the impact on the global burden of cancer incidence and cancer mortality will be substantial. The International Agency for Research on Cancer will be presenting the 2007 Annual World Cancer Data Update and the 2008 Annual Statement of Cancer Challenges at a press conference on the occasion of World Cancer Day, February 4th, at the Agency's Headquarters in Lyon, France.
World Cancer Day has now grown into a universally recognized yearly event, and a milestone for cancer researchers, oncologists, patients and the civil society at large, for a number of reasons: perceived increase in cancer incidence, better understanding of the problem on a global scale, better awareness of the relative weight of cancer vs. the still huge burden of communicable disease in poorer countries.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer is setting the pace in establishing a yearly rendez-vous of all parties concerned, to publish the latest hard facts of the incidence and mortality of the disease by WHO Region: these will be used by all other stakeholders to establish priorities, set up interventions, design cancer control strategies and decide on public health policies. While IARC is recognized as the source of reference cancer data for more than 4 decades, it inaugurates today a series of annual meetings that will review the pattern of cancer round the world year after year.
2007 Annual World Cancer Data Update
A major global shift of the cancer burden
The majority of the global cancer burden has now shifted from westernised, developed countries several decades ago to medium- and low-resource countries today.
WHO Regions with a large proportion of countries of low- or medium-resource are hardest hit and the impact in such countries, still faced with the burden of infectious disease and a low budget for health, will be considerable in terms of the treatment needs and the costs of treatment.
Less than 20% of the world's population is covered by cancer registration and, in 2000, 30% by mortality registration schemes. However, this is not equally spread over the globe.
Explosion of cancer impact foreseen within two decades
Neither the number of new cases of cancer nor the number of deaths caused by cancer is available for many parts of the world. To move towards cancer prevention and control world-wide we must first understand the magnitude and nature of the cancer burden in different regions of the world. Various estimates can be made under a variety of different assumptions. Available estimates for 2000 suggest that there were 10.4 million new cases of cancer diagnosed worldwide, 6.5 million deaths from cancer, and over 25 million persons alive with cancer five years after diagnosis. Taking account of the growth and ageing of the world's population, based on various assumptions regarding trends in cancer risk, by 2030 it could be expected that there will be 20 to 25 million incident cases of cancer, and 13 to 16 million cancer deaths annually.
Effective cancer control measures and capacity building essential to curb this trend
It is essential to address the world's growing cancer burden. The WHO Resolution on Cancer Control provides a strong impetus for countries to develop programmes aimed at the reduction of cancer incidence and mortality. Priorities need to be realistic and achievable and include a focus on the identification, delivery, and assessment of effective cancer control measures. Depending on resources and competing health priorities, all steps must be taken to avoid those cancers which are avoidable; to treat those cancers which are treatable; to cure those cancers which are curable; and to provide palliation to those patients who need palliative care. The necessity for cancer control and capacity building in countries of limited resources is evident and urgent.
Identifying the cause helps identify the control strategy
There are several clearly identified causes of cancer1 and several strategies which can lead to reductions in cancer incidence and mortality2. Currently, the most common forms of cancer differ between high-resource countries and the remainder.
Ageing of the population and adoption of 'western' lifestyle
For more information, please contact Dr Nicolas Gaudin, Head, IARC Communications:
IARC, WHO and partners are leading the way for concerted action along four major avenues:
To prevent those cancers that can be prevented
To treat cancers which can be treated
To cure those cancers which can be cured
To provide palliation whenever it is required
To take action against Tobacco world-wide
To implement what is known to reduce cancer risk
To develop concerted action against breast cancer
To develop concerted action against cancer of the cervix
World Health Organization
International Agency for Research on Cancer
Organisation mondiale de la Santé
Centre international de Recherche sur le Cancer
150, cours Albert-Thomas 69372 Lyon Cedex 08 (France)
Telephone: 33 472 738 485 Facsimile: 33 472 738 311 http://www.iarc.fr