The number of cancer diagnoses globally is expected to reach 35 million in 2050, according to new estimates from the World Health Organization – a 77% increase from the 20 million cases diagnosed in 2022.
The data, published on Friday by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, covers 185 countries and 36 forms of the disease. The researchers found that lung cancer was the most common form worldwide in 2022 – responsible for 2.5 million cases, or 12.4% of the total – followed by breast, colorectal, prostate and stomach cancer. Lung cancer was also responsible for the most cancer deaths: 1.8 million, or approximately 19% of the total.
The agency also points to inequalities in the burden of cancer across developed countries. For example, in countries with a very high Human Development Index – a measure of achievements in health, education and standard of living – 1 in 12 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 1 in 71 will die from the disease. In countries with a low Human Development Index, only 1 in 27 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, but 1 in 48 will die from it, largely due to late diagnosis and lack of access to treatment.
Inequalities have also been seen in cancer treatment services such as radiotherapy and stem cell transplantation.
“The new global survey by the World Health Organization highlights the significant inequalities and lack of financial protection for cancer control around the world, where populations, especially in low-income countries, do not have access to basic cancer care,” Dr. Pente said. Mikkelsen, Director of the Department of Cancer Control at the World Health Organization. Non-communicable diseases, according to a press release. “WHO, including through its cancer initiatives, works extensively with more than 75 governments to develop, fund and implement policies to advance cancer care for all. To scale up this work, significant investments are urgently needed to address global disparities in cancer outcomes.
Researchers point to several factors leading to expected increases in cancer rates, such as obesity, tobacco use, and alcohol use, as well as environmental factors such as air pollution.
In the United States, the number of people dying from cancer continues to decline while rates of certain forms of the disease rise, according to a report released last month by the American Cancer Society.
From 1991 to 2021, cancer deaths in the United States decreased by 33%, largely due to decreased tobacco use, early detection and significant improvements in treatments. However, racial disparities persist, with people of color facing greater risks.
Get the weekly CNN Health newsletter
The American Cancer Society report indicated that cancer patients are also becoming younger. For example, the rate of colorectal cancer diagnoses in adults younger than 55 rose from 11% in 1995 to 20% in 2019, previous research found.
President Joe Biden has made the fight against cancer an important part of his administration, with his Cancer Moonshot initiative aiming to cut U.S. cancer deaths in half within 25 years. Agencies including NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency have been involved in joining the effort along with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Although advances have been made in early cancer detection, treatment, and care for cancer patients, significant disparities in cancer treatment outcomes exist not only between high- and low-income regions of the world, but also within countries. Where someone lives does not It should determine whether he lives or not. Tools exist to enable governments to prioritize cancer care, and ensure everyone has access to high-quality, affordable services. Dr. Cary Adams, president of the International Union Against Cancer, said in a news release issued Friday by the agency. International Cancer Research: “This is not just a matter of resources but of political will.”
CNN’s Jacqueline Howard contributed to this report.