The number of cancers is on the increase globally, according to a new report from the World Health Organization WHO, the total is expected in 2018 to rise to 9.6 million. Experts estimate that 18.1 million new cancers will be diagnosed in countries around the world this year.
In 2012, when the World Health Organization's latest global cancer survey was published, it rose from 14.1 million new cases and 8.2 million deaths.
Researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer used data from 185 countries to analyze 36 different cancers. The IARC is part of the World Health Organization.
Based on the latest data released Wednesday (September 12), every fifth man and every sixth woman worldwide will develop cancer in their lifetime. One in eight men and one in eleven women will die from the disease, according to the report.
Preventive measures have helped reduce the incidence rate of certain types of cancer in industrialized countries, including lung cancer and cervical cancer. The report notes that in most countries the total number of diagnosed cases requiring treatment is increasing, although more emphasis is placed on preventive measures such as early cervical cancer screening.
"These new figures underline that much remains to be done to address the alarming increase in cancer burden worldwide, and that prevention plays a key role," said IARC Director. Christopher Wild in a press release. "An effective prevention and screening strategy needs to be urgently implemented to complement treatment so that this devastating disease can be tackled worldwide."
The researchers said that population growth and longer life expectancy are some of the factors that contribute to the rising cancer rate.
As expected, more populated countries reported higher numbers of cancer cases and cancer deaths. For example, it is estimated that Asia has 57 percent of all cancer deaths worldwide this year. The continent is also home to 60 percent of the world's population.
After all, the Americas account for only 13 percent of the world's population, but according to the report, 21 percent of all cancer cases and 14 percent of cancer deaths are expected.
Lungs, breast and colon cancer were the three most common types reported and among the top five deadliest. Taken together, these three cancers accounted for about one third of the world's cancer deaths this year.
Lung cancer was the deadliest form, leading to 1.76 million deaths worldwide this year, followed by colon cancer, which resulted in 862,000 deaths. About 627,000 people around the world have died of breast cancer this year, the report said.
The researchers also noted a disturbing increase in the number of lung cancers in women. The highest incidence rates were observed in North America, Northern and Western Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand.
In the press release Dr. Freddie Bray, head of the cancer surveillance department at the IARC, said that best practice measures have reduced overall active smoking and helped prevent unwanted tobacco smoke in many countries.
"Given that the tobacco epidemic is at different stages in different regions and in men and women, the results show that targeted and effective tobacco control policies must continue to be pursued in every country in the world," Bray said.
Read the full World Health Organization report.