Cancer could kill nearly 10 million people in 2018

In 2018, cancer deaths will rise to 9.6 million worldwide, according to new data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The global burden of new cancer cases will rise to 18.1 million this year, with one in five men and one in six women worldwide expected to develop cancer during their lifetime. One in eight men and one in 11 women die from the disease, according to the data. The five-year prevalence, or the total number of people who are alive within five years of a cancer diagnosis, is estimated to be 43.8 million.

The analysis looked at 36 types of cancer across 185 countries and was published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

The analysis found the increasing cancer burden is rising thanks, in part, to population growth and aging, as well as the changing prevalence of cancers linked to social and economic development. The shift is most observed in rapidly growing economies, whereas cancers related to poverty and infections to cancers are more associated with lifestyles of industrialized countries.

While the data shows an increase in the number of cancer cases being diagnosed, effective prevention efforts have been underscored, including lower incidence rates for some cancers such as lung cancer in men in Northern Europe and North America and cervical cancer in most regions.

The three most common cancers in 2018 are lung, female breast and colorectal, according to the analysis.

Worldwide, these three cancer types make up one-third of cancer incidences and mortalities. Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and the leading cause of cancer death. For women, breast cancer is the biggest killer and the most commonly diagnosed cancer in 154 out of the 185 countries analyzed. However, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in 28 countries among women.

Nearly half of all new cases and more than half of cancer deaths worldwide will occur in Asia this year, largely because the region holds 60 percent of the global population, according to estimates. Europe, which has only 9 percent of the world population, accounts for 23.4 percent of cancer cases and 20.3 percent of cancer deaths. The Americas have 13.3 percent of the global population, accounting for 21 percent of cancer cases and 14.4 percent of mortality worldwide.

In Asia and Africa, cancer death rates are higher than the proportion of incident cases, “because these regions have a higher frequency of certain cancer types associated with poorer prognosis and higher mortality rates,” with limited diagnosis and treatment in many countries.