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Cancer to Surpass Heart Disease as World's Leading Killer
Date:12/9/2008

Biggest rise in cases and deaths coming in developing nations, report says

TUESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- By 2010, cancer will be the leading killer in the world, surpassing heart disease, causing more deaths than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

Unless new treatments are found, there could be 27 million people with cancer by 2030, and 17 million cancer deaths annually. And, there could be 75 million people living with cancer within five years after diagnosis, according to a new report, 2008 World Cancer Report, released Tuesday by the World Health Organization.

"The burden of cancer is shifting from developed countries to developing nations," Dr. Otis Webb Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said during a teleconference. "And with a growing and aging population, we must take steps to address this problem now."

Last year, there were about 12 million new cases of cancer and 7.6 million cancer deaths reported. Of these, 5.6 million were in developing countries with an estimated 4.7 million cancer deaths.

"The global burden of cancer has more than doubled in the past 30 years," Peter Boyle, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer and co-author of the report, said during the teleconference. "Right now, there are 25 million people alive with cancer five years after diagnosis."

Cancer rates are growing in developing countries as people adopt western lifestyles, including smoking, high-fat diets, fast food and less physical activity.

These countries typically don't have the resources to cope with this dramatic increase in cancer. Populations in these countries are expected to grow by 38 percent by 2030. And, these countries will have a high number of older people as populations age, increasing the incidence of cancer.

Smoking is the major avoidable risk for cancer and cancer deaths around the world. Currently, some
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