Ahmedin Jemal, vice president for surveillance research at the American Cancer Society, said the increase in breast cancer diagnosis is partly to increased awareness.
But most importantly, he said, the risk factors for breast cancer include reproductive factors such as late child bearing and late menopause. These factors increase with economic development [and so] increased in the developing world -- not as much as in the developed world. But, that's the driving factor," he said.
In addition, obesity is a risk factor for breast cancer and it has been increasing around the world, Jemal said.
To reduce the incidence of breast cancer, Jemal says, more awareness of early detection and access to care is needed. Also, women should be encouraged to reduce the known risk factors for the disease, he said, such as obesity.
As far as cervical cancer is concerned, the increase in developing areas is due to lack of access to screening with Pap tests, he said. With the development of the HPV vaccine, Jemal said he hopes to see the rate of cervical cancer decline, especially since drug makers are making the vaccine available at a low price to developing areas.
For more information on breast cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.
SOURCES: Rafael Lozano, M.D., professor, global health, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle; Ahmedin Jemal, Ph.D., vice president, Surveillance Research, American Cancer Society; Sept. 15, 2011, The Lancet, online
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