A new report found cancer rates up for developing countries, but down for richer nations who take advantage of better screening processes and treatments. More importantly, there are numerous factors, such as unhealthy Western lifestyle, that influence the appearance of cancer in adults.
Researchers used data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) between the years 2003 and 2007. Their study reflected the situation in 50 countries across five continents, looking into the eight major types of cancers there are: lung, breast, colorectal, prostate, stomach, liver, esophageal, and cervical.
Together, they represent 60% of cancers and deaths worldwide due to the disease. The rates have already been established to be at an alarming height. Cancer is the lead cause in death around the globe. It’s estimated to have killed 8.2 million people in the world in 2012, with another 14.1 million new cases of cancer diagnosed.
However, the situation seems to be more optimistic for richer countries. They still present the highest rates of cancer, but they appear to be declining, according to Lindsey Torre from the American Cancer Society (ACS) who also authored the study. Due to high frequency of campaigns, lifestyle changes made by the population, and better screening processes, the mortality rate for cancer has decreased.
Higher for low-income nations, lower for high-income countries
Unfortunately, the opposite can be said for low-income and mid-income nations. As their population grows wealthier, they begin to indulge into dangerous habits that encourages the growth of cancer. This includes smoking, eating junk food, or becoming physically inactive. According to Torre, they are beginning to adopt the unhealthy Western life.
It increases the likelihood of cancer. This is more prevalent in countries throughout South America, Africa, and Asia. Unfortunately, those particular nations are also those who do not have the resources to combat the increase in cancer rate. They do not possess the same advanced screening process, which makes them unable to catch the disease in time. That drives the mortality rate of cancer up.
The author of the study also noted that the low-income and mid-income nations also have a tougher time battling cancer related to infections, such as stomach cancer, liver cancer, or cervical cancer. It doubles their burden. Such infections are much rarer in high-income nations.
According to Dr. David Katz from the Prevention Research Center at Yale University, the decline of cancer rates in high-income countries is proof that prevention works. By addressing the cause, and encouraging patients to quit smoking or diet, it becomes a potentially preventable problem. At the very least, in some cases.
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