Cancer Rates to Rise

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June 24, 2012
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July 7, 2012

It is anticipated that the number of cases of cancer will rise by 75 percent by the year 2030, in part because people are getting older and aren’t dying of other diseases and partly because developing nations are becoming Westernized and are developing habits that cause cancer.

The growth of the population and the facts of aging explain much of the disease increase but 1/5 of new cases will be due to preventable issues. Some say that cervical cancer vaccination and screening will quell some of this increase but it isn’t clear exactly how much of a change this will make in the overall cancer rate.

Cancers currently related to infections, like liver, stomach and cervical cancer, are going down but cancers related to bad habits like poor diets, lack of exercise, alcohol drinking and smoking are going to outpace the other preventable cancers, resulting in an increase in cancer rate.

Some of the poorest countries will see an increase in cancer that exceeds 90 percent. Now that diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria are getting under control, people are aging to an age where cancer can get them. Cancer is usually associated with the aging process.

Experts say that developing countries have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes Westernized countries have made. They don’t need cancer of the lung in developing countries and they don’t need access to cigarettes.

Health officials in developing countries need to think about how to be proactive against cancers such as cervical cancer. You could eliminate cervical cancer alone in this century just by judicious use of cervical cancer screening and liberal use of the vaccine against cervical cancer causes.

Cancer, according to experts, is a product of having increased education, more income and increased longevity. If you total the new cancer cases of 184 countries, you can calculate more than 22 million new cases of cancer by 2030, based on recent trends in cancer and projections of the demographics of the world. This number might be a bit off because some countries assess total cancer cases based on only ten percent of the population.

In developing countries as of now, cancers that are caused by infection are the most common. But as they become wealthier countries, they will have to deal with the lifestyle risk factors for cancer as well. Both types of risk factors will cause a great increase in the number of cancers—diseases these countries are ill-prepared to deal with medically. Lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer will be the ones that increase the most.