The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a report projecting that the number of new cancer cases per year will rise from 14 million to 22 million within the next two decades.
It also projects that deaths from cancer will rise from 8.2 million to 13 million per year within the same time period.
The organization said that more than six out of ten cases happen in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, where there is a lack of early detection and access to treatment.
Further, the cost of treating cancer is increasing even in the richest countries, making treatment more difficult around the world. At the same time, experts hope to continue increasing awareness, which can supposedly avoid about half of all cancer cases.
“Despite exciting advances, this report shows that we cannot treat our way out of the cancer problem,” said Dr. Christoper Wild, director at WHO’s cancer research center, in the report announcement (pdf). “More commitment to prevention and early detection is desperately needed in order to complement improved treatments and address the alarming rise in cancer burden globally.”
“The rise of cancer worldwide is a major obstacle to human development and well-being,” Wild added. “These new figures and projections send a strong signal that immediate action is needed to confront this human disaster, which touches every community worldwide, without exception.”
The most common cancers are lung, breast, and large bowel; deaths most commonly come from lung, liver, and stomach cancer.
Among the recommendations are providing more vaccines in developing countries, working toward earlier detection and diagnosis, and implementing proper legislation to reduce exposure.