Cancer rates are on the rise around the world, according to new data released by the World Health Organization, with dramatic increases in developing countries still new to a disease driven by Western lifestyles.
In a new report compiled by WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer, new cancer diagnoses increased from 12.7 million in 2008 to 14.1 million in 2012. Cancer deaths rose 8 percent from 7.6 million in 2008 to 8.2 million in 2012.
According to the report, cancer rates — and deaths — have begun skyrocketing in the developing world, and experts think the introduction of foods and lifestyle habits from industrialized nations might be the culprit. Lung cancer made up about 13 percent of all cancer cases, making it the most common cancer globally. The WHO report also noted a "sharp rise" in cases of breast cancer, with the disease taking the lives of 522,000 women last year, an increase of 14 percent from 2008. Breast cancer is now the most common cancer in women in 140 countries.
Dr. David Forman from the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer said: "Breast cancer is also a leading cause of cancer death in the less developed countries of the world. ... This is partly because a shift in lifestyles is causing an increase in incidence, and partly because clinical advances to combat the disease are not reaching women living in these regions."
The WHO report found that the most commonly diagnosed cancers globally were lung, breast and colorectal cancers. The most common causes of cancer death were lung, liver and stomach cancers. Health experts at WHO predict the number of cancer cases will rise to more than 19 million a year by 2025.
The WHO report, called GLOBOCAN 2012, looked at the cancer data for 28 different types of cancer in 184 countries.
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