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Developing nations are expected to bear the brunt of soaring cancer rates over next 20 years: WHO

Author of World Health Organization report on cancer warns, 'we cannot treat our way out of the cancer problem.'

Cancer developing countries 2014 02-04Enlarge
Developing countries are expected to bear the brunt of new cancer cases over the next 20 years, according to a new report. (Wikimedia/Wikimedia commons)

Tuesday is World Cancer Day, and the World Health Organization's 2014 World Cancer Report served as a grim reminder of how far the world is from winning this particular battle.

The report said 14 million new cancer cases were reported around the world in 2012, with that figure expected to rise to 22 million cases annually within 20 years.

Cancer deaths are also projected to go up from 8.2 million a year to 13 million a year, according to the report.

And the news is worse for developing countries, which are expected to bear the brunt of new cancer cases in the next two decades.

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The growing burden of cancer is already hitting developing countries harder because of reasons ranging from aging populations, to higher rates of infection-related cancers, and cancers associated with industrialized lifestyles.

Currently, Africa, Asia, and Central and South America account for more than 60 percent of the world's cancer cases and around 70 percent of the world's cancer deaths, according to the report.

And it's only going to get worse if those regions don't invest more in screening and prevention, the report's authors noted. Cancer rates in developing countries are "made worse by the lack of early detection and access to treatment," the report said.

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Low- and middle-income countries are typically hit hardest by two forms of cancer.

There are those triggered by infections, like cervical cancer, which goes undetected due to lack of screening. An increasing number of cancers are also associated with smoking, drinking, eating processed foods and not exercising enough, according to WHO director general Margaret Chan.

"Despite exciting advances, the report shows that we cannot treat our way out of the cancer problem," Dr. Christopher Wild, director if the International Agency for Research on Cancer and joint author of the report, told CNN.

"More commitment to prevention and early detection is desperately needed in order to complement improved treatments and address the alarming rise in cancer burden globally."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/140204/who-report-global-cancer-developing-countries