In an article in a special virtual issue of the International Journal of Cancer, researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) aim to draw a parallel between the past increase in cancer rates observed in the USA and the increase in rates that is anticipated to occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This special issue was published on 14 January 2020 in recognition of the 20th anniversary of World Cancer Day (4 February) and is freely accessible until 14 February 2020.
The currently high cancer incidence rates in the USA and other high-income countries have been strongly affected by the acquisition of environmental and lifestyle risk factors that accompanied socioeconomic growth in the second half of the 20th century. The article’s authors postulate that these same factors may currently be operating in many LMICs. If this is correct, they expect to observe an upsurge in cancer incidence and mortality rates in LMICs, where the rates are currently still low to intermediate. This increase, coupled with population growth and ageing, would translate into unprecedented numbers of people being diagnosed with, living with, and dying from cancer.
The authors emphasize that, because of resource constraints and organizational limitations, prevention strategies need to be prioritized and implemented in LMICs.
Vaccarella S, Bray F
Are U.S. trends a barometer of future cancer transitions in emerging economies?
International Journal of Cancer, Published online 4 June 2019;