Deaths arising out of cancer in developing countries are forecast to grow to 7.6 million this year and close to 9 million in 2030, due to globalization of unhealthy lifestyles, the World Health Organization has warned.
At the moment 5.6 million (70 per cent) of the over 8 million people who die of cancer worldwide each year are in developing countries, implying that cancer is killing much more than HIV, tuberculosis and malaria combined.
The warning implies that if nothing is done to revise the trend; developing countries, in Africa, Asia and Central and South America could lose an additional two million people this year and as many people as the world is losing to cancer today.
According to WHO, there are powerful global trends that contribute to the rise of cancer in the developing world, including population aging, rapid unplanned urbanization, and the globalization of unhealthy lifestyles.
“Around one third of cancer deaths are due to the 5 leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use and alcohol use,” a statement from the World Health organization indicates.
The message comes in commemoration of the World Cancer Day, observed on 4 February each year to put a spotlight on the disease. The theme for this year’s World Cancer Day is “Not beyond us”.
Nelly Enwerem-Bromsom, the director of the UN nuclear agency’s Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) said the theme recognizes that more needs to be done to tackle the burden of cancer, particularly in the low and middle-income countries.
The UN agency says World Cancer Day offers an opportunity to demonstrate its policies and programmes for countries to reduce their cancer burden. It adds that the international community is capable of coming together to tackle cancer which is taking its toll in developing countries.
Health experts however advise that most cancers are preventable through lifestyle changes, early detection and treatment. These include- a healthy diet, exercise, good sleep and avoiding tobacco products.
·Cancers figure among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer related deaths in 2012.
·Among men, the 5 most common sites of cancer diagnosed in 2012 were lung, prostate, colorectum, stomach, and liver cancer.
·Among women the 5 most common sites diagnosed were breast, colorectum, lung, cervix, and stomach cancer.
·Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer causing around 20% of global cancer deaths and around 70% of global lung cancer deaths.
·Cancer causing viral infections such as HBV/HCV and HPV are responsible for up to 20% of cancer deaths in low- and middle-income countries.
·More than 60% of world’s total new annual cases occur in Africa, Asia and Central and South America. These regions account for 70% of the world’s cancer deaths.