Surge in cancer deaths

> Re­ports warn of a dra­matic in­crease in mor­tal­ity among women by 2030

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FEATURE -

TWO RE­PORTS have warned of an ex­plo­sion in cancer deaths among women, with a toll, mainly from breast cancer, of some 5.5 mil­lion per year by 2030 – roughly the pop­u­la­tion of Den­mark.

This rep­re­sented a near 60% in­crease in less than two decades, said an anal­y­sis con­ducted by the Amer­i­can Cancer So­ci­ety (ACS), re­leased re­cently at the World Cancer Congress in Paris.

As the global pop­u­la­tion grows and ages, the high­est toll will be among women in poor and mid­dle-in­come coun­tries, it said, and much of it from can­cers which are largely pre­ventable.

“Most of the deaths oc­cur in young- and mid­dle-aged adults”, plac­ing a heavy bur­den on fam­i­lies and na­tional economies, said Sally Cowal, se­nior vi­cepres­i­dent of global health at the ACS, which com­piled the re­port with phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany Merck.

A sec­ond re­port, pub­lished in The Lancet med­i­cal jour­nal, said the num­ber of women di­ag­nosed with breast cancer could al­most dou­ble to 3.2 mil­lion a year by 2030 from 1.7 mil­lion in 2015.

For cer­vi­cal cancer, the num­ber of di­ag­noses could “rise by at least 25% to over 700,000 by 2030”, mainly in low- and mid­dle-in­come coun­tries, said a state­ment from The Lancet.

Cancer is al­ready killing one in seven women around the world, said the ACS re­port – the sec­ond high­est cause of death af­ter car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

All four of the dead­li­est can­cers – breast, col­orec­tal, lung and cer­vi­cal cancer – are mostly pre­ventable or can be de­tected early, when treat­ment is more suc­cess­ful.

In poorer coun­tries, a much smaller pro­por­tion of cancer cases are di­ag­nosed and treated than in rich ones, while a much big­ger group dies.

The rel­a­tive bur­den is grow­ing for de­vel­op­ing coun­tries as peo­ple live longer due to bet­ter ba­sic health­care.

Women in th­ese coun­tries are also in­creas­ingly ex­posed to known cancer risk fac­tors “as­so­ci­ated with rapid eco­nomic tran­si­tion”, said Cowal, “such as phys­i­cal in­ac­tiv­ity, un­healthy diet, obe­sity, and re­pro­duc­tive fac­tors” such as post­pon­ing moth­er­hood.

“Due to th­ese changes, can­cers that were once com­mon only in high-in­come coun­tries are be­com­ing more preva­lent,” said the re­port en­ti­tled The Global Bur­den of Cancer in Women.

Ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Agency for Re­search on Cancer, there were 6.7 mil­lion new cancer cases and 3.5 mil­lion deaths among women world­wide in 2012.

Of th­ese, 56% of cases and 64% of deaths were in less de­vel­oped coun­tries.

“Th­ese num­bers are ex­pected to in­crease to 9.9 mil­lion cases and 5.5 mil­lion deaths among fe­males an­nu­ally by 2030 as a re­sult of the growth and age­ing of the pop­u­la­tion,” said the ACS re­port.

The big­gest con­cen­tra­tion is in east­ern Asia, with 1.7 mil­lion cases and a mil­lion deaths in 2012, mainly in China.

The high­est ra­tio of cancer cases per pop­u­la­tion group are still re­ported in high-in­come coun­tries in Europe, the Amer­i­cas and Asia, but this was partly due to bet­ter ac­cess to screen­ing and de­tec­tion.

Deaths, how­ever, were pro­por­tion­ally much higher in low- and mid­dle-in­come coun­tries with re­duced ac­cess to di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment.

The coun­tries with the high­est death rate were Zim­babwe, Malawi, Kenya, Mon­go­lia and Pa­pua New Guinea.

Breast and lung cancer are the two most com­mon types in both rich and poor na­tions, with col­orec­tal cancer the No.3 killer in de­vel­oped coun­tries and cer­vi­cal cancer in less de­vel­oped ones.

Cer­vi­cal cancer can be staved off by vac­ci­na­tion against the cancer-caus­ing Hu­man pa­pil­lo­mavirus (HPV) and can be eas­ily de­tected through reg­u­lar Pa­pan­i­co­laou (pap) test screens.

The Lancet re­port, com­pris­ing three re­search pa­pers, said a ba­sic cancer con­trol pack­age could be in­tro­duced in low- and mid­dle-in­come coun­tries for as lit­tle as US$1.72 (RM7.28) per per­son – the equiv­a­lent of just 3% of cur­rent health spend­ing in th­ese coun­tries.

Uni­ver­sal HPV vac­ci­na­tion of all 12-year-old girls could pre­vent 420,000 deaths world­wide over their life­time.

“The global com­mu­nity can­not con­tinue to ig­nore the prob­lem – hun­dreds of thou­sands of women are dy­ing un­nec­es­sar­ily ev­ery year,” said Richard Sul­li­van of King’s Col­lege Lon­don, who coau­thored The Lancet re­port.

“Not only are the costs of es­sen­tial cancer ser­vices for women lower than ex­pected, but scale-up of di­ag­nos­tic, sur­gi­cal and treat­ment ser­vices are a highly-ef­fec­tive in­vest­ment com­pared to the dev­as­tat­ing eco­nomic cost to coun­tries, com­mu­ni­ties and fam­i­lies.” – AFP-Re­laxnews

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.