World Cancer Report

World Cancer Report 2014

Edited by Bernard W. Stewart and Christopher P. Wild

ISBN 978-92-832-0429-9


14/05/2013 -
Dr Christopher P. Wild, IARC Director
Dr Christopher P. Wild, IARC Director, answers a few questions on the new edition of World Cancer Report.

What is the aim of the World Cancer Report?     [mp3 600KB ]
The World Cancer Report is a comprehensive but not an exhaustive summary of what’s known about cancer: its occurrence, its causes, how the disease develops, how it can be prevented and managed. But it also provides information on what countries across the world are doing to minimize the effects of cancer on ordinary people. So its primary purpose is to provide a one-stop reference for scientists, health professionals, and decision-makers by giving the current state of understanding of this all-too-common disease.

Why is it IARC which produces the report?    [mp3 930KB ]
Well, IARC is the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, and actually a core part of our mission is to disseminate information on cancer, so in that sense it falls directly into our remit. However, I think there are two features which characterize both the book and the work of this Agency. The first is that the book takes a global consideration of the disease. So we’re as interested in cancer as a consequence of infestation with parasites in rural South-East Asia as we are in the cancer risks associated with high technology, diagnostic radiation for example, in the richest countries of the world. And the second feature is its collaborative nature. So the book comprises material from leading cancer experts from around the world. And it’s bringing the best people together to address the cancer problem.

Why is such information on cancer important?     [mp3 1MB ]
Cancer is a complex disease in many respects. There’s the geographic variation in the disease; for example, we see in Eastern Africa that among men oesophageal cancer is the most common, but in West Africa it’s cancer of the liver. It affects all organs of the body. Its causes are diverse, including chemicals, viruses, sunlight, diet, hormones, lifestyle habits like tobacco use or chewing betel quid. And also the mechanisms that lead a cell to develop into a fatal cancer are also numerous. So in bringing all this information together in one place, the World Cancer Report provides a portal, if you like, a point of entry to understanding cancer. It reveals that this disease is important in all parts of the world, not just the rich countries. And, finally, I hope it sends a message that despite the complexity and the challenges, there is progress and there is hope in combating cancer.

What is the biggest challenge in gathering such data and information?      [mp3 1.2MB ]
Well, one problem is to turn the complexity that I’ve just been describing into a structured book that’s easy to access. We’ve done this by organizing it around individual organ sites, different risk factors, the occurrence in different parts of the world, mechanisms, and so on, full of good illustrations. But we’ve also used different approaches in the book: not only traditional chapters, but things like short text boxes, which highlight topical issues or give examples of how countries are combating cancer in the local context. And also a new feature is a series of perspectives by world authorities on cancer where they highlight areas in which the science is moving in an exciting way. So one problem is this structure, which we’ve addressed. The other, aside from the organization of the material, is that when you ask more than 150 creative and busy scientists, including three Nobel laureates, to join together to produce a book, it’s keeping everybody to schedule, and so far we’re doing remarkably well with this.