World Cancer Day: WHO Projects 77% Increase In Cancer Cases By 2050

LAGOS – In the latest report of the World Health Organisation (WHO), on cancer cases worldwide, lung cancer was said to be the most commonly occurring cancer with 2.5 million new cases.

This is as the report projected over 35 million new cancer cases in 2050, a 77% increase from the estimated 20 million cases in 2022.

The WHO’s cancer agency, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in its report released to mark the World Cancer Day on Sunday, February 4 noted that most countries do not sufficiently prioritise and fund cancer care services, as part of universal health coverage (UHC).

The result of the survey, which examined the global burden of cancer in 115 countries, shows an estimated 20 million new cancer cases and 9.7 million deaths in 2022.

The report pointed out some of the factors of the rising cases as people’s exposure to risk factors associated with socioeconomic development, tobacco, alcohol, air pollution, amongst others.

“The IARC estimates, based on the best sources of data available in countries in 2022, highlight the growing burden of cancer, the disproportionate impact on underserved populations, and the urgent need to address cancer inequities worldwide.

“In 2022, there were an estimated 20 million new cancer cases and 9.7 million deaths. The estimated number of people who were alive within 5 years following a cancer diagnosis was 53.5 million. About 1 in 5 people develop cancer in their lifetime, approximately 1 in 9 men and 1 in 12 women die from the disease.

“The global WHO survey on UHC and cancer shows that only 39% of participating countries covered the basics of cancer management as part of their financed core health services for all citizens, ‘health benefit packages’ (HBP). Only 28% of participating countries additionally covered care for people who require palliative care, including pain relief in general, and not just linked to cancer,” the release stated.

Highlighting the kinds of cancers based on number of cases recorded, the IARC stated that lung cancer was the highest occurring cancer worldwide with 2.5 million new cases accounting for 12.4% of the total new cases, followed by female breast cancer with 2.3 million cases (11.6%), third in the ranking is colorectal cancer with 1.9 million cases (9.6%), next is prostate cancer with 1.5 million cases (7.3%), and stomach cancer with 970,000 cases (4.9%).

“Lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer death (1.8 million deaths, 18.7% of the total cancer deaths) followed by colorectal cancer (900 000 deaths, 9.3%), liver cancer (760 000 deaths, 7.8%), breast cancer (670 000 deaths, 6.9%) and stomach cancer (660 000 deaths, 6.8%). Lung cancer’s re-emergence as the most common cancer is likely related to persistent tobacco use in Asia.”

On his part, the head of Union for International Cancer Control, (UICC) Dr Cary Adams stated that despite the progress recorded so far in the early detection of cancers, the treatment and care of cancer patients, there are still some lapses.

Adams decried the less attention given to cancer prevention and care by the leaders of countries and regions despite the resources available to them.

“Tools exist to enable governments to prioritise cancer care, and to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, quality services. This is not just a resource issue but a matter of political will,” he said.

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