A new study by scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimates the absolute numbers and incidence rates of cancers attributable to infectious agents classified as carcinogenic by the IARC Monographs programme. The paper was published today in The Lancet Global Health.
The study found that in 2018, an estimated 2.2 million new cases of cancer could be attributed to infectious agents such as human papillomavirus (HPV), Helicobacter pylori, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus. This corresponds to 13% of the estimated total of new cancer cases worldwide in 2018. The burden of cancer attributable to infections was estimated by country and then aggregated by United Nations geographical region and by World Bank income group.
These infectious agents are preventable causes of cancer. Interventions to prevent or treat these infections can markedly reduce the increasing cancer burden and could save many lives over the next decades, particularly in the populations with the highest incidence rates.
De Martel C, Georges D, Bray F, Ferlay J, Clifford GM
Global burden of cancer attributable to infections in 2018: a worldwide incidence analysis
Lancet Glob Health, Published online 17 December 2019;