Nearly 60 percent more women may fall victim to various types of cancer by 2030, a report says, indicating a rocketing increase in a matter of less than two decades.
The Global Burden of Cancer in Women presented on Tuesday at the World Cancer Congress in Paris showed that a shocking figure of 5.5 million women would be killed from cancer each year by 2030, much higher than 3.5 million deaths from 6.7 million cancer cases recorded in 2012.
“These numbers are expected to increase to 9.9 million cases and 5.5 million deaths among females annually by 2030 as a result of the growth and ageing of the population,” said the report, warning that the highest toll will be among women in poor and middle-income countries who could suffer from largely preventable cancers.
The report, compiled by the American Cancer Society and pharmaceutical company Merck, highlighted the large geographic inequality in availability of resources and preventive measures and treatment to combat cancer, saying a much smaller proportion of cancer cases are diagnosed and treated in poorer countries.
It said most cancer cases are still reported in high-income countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia as they have better access to screening and detection. However, a much bigger group dies in poorer countries such as Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya, Mongolia and Papua New Guinea.
It also said better basic healthcare being provided in developing countries, which has led to a longer lifespan for people, has exposed them to a growing burden of cancer. It said women in these societies are involved in more physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, obesity, and reproductive factors such as postponing motherhood, meaning that rapid economic transition is increasing the risk of cancer for these countries.
The report said cervical cancer is still the most prevalent in poor countries while the developed ones have more rates of colorectal cancer. It said breast and lung cancers are common in both rich and poor nations. However, it added that all the four types are mostly preventable or can be detected early, when treatment is more successful.
Cancer is the second highest cause of death after cardiovascular disease. Estimates show that it is already killing one in seven women around the world.