One Country is Getting Hit Especially Hard by Cancer. Can You Guess Where?

February 4, 2015 Updated: July 18, 2015

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that the number of cancer cases in China is growing at a “ferocious” pace.

About 2.2 million men and women in China die of varying types of cancer each year, the organization said, according to the Australia Broadcasting Corporation.

“The growth of cancer in China is ferocious,” WHO China spokesman Dr. Bernhard Schwartlander was quoted as saying. “Improving cancer prevention in China – for example, by reducing very high smoking rates especially among Chinese men – would save many millions of lives every year.”

He also told the state-run Global Times, a Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, that China is home to 25 percent of all cancer deaths. He added: “The single best thing you can do for your health is to stop smoking right now.”

The WHO also said that China’s rampant problems with air pollution is a contributing factor for cancer, namely in densely populated, urban areas.

Chinese women are most commonly diagnosed with breast cancer, the U.N. body said. “Awareness is the first step to early detection and improving cancer outcomes,” Dr Schwartlander. said. “With few exceptions, early stage cancers are less lethal and more treatable than late stage cancers.”

Meanwhile, the American Cancer Society issued an update this week.

“According to estimates from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in 2012 there were 14.1 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million cancer deaths worldwide. By 2030, the global burden is expected to grow to 21.7 million new cancer cases and 13 million cancer deaths simply due to the growth and aging of the population,” it says.

“The future burden will probably be even larger because of the adoption of western lifestyles, such as smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity, and fewer childbirths, in economically developing countries.”