Cancer to be the World’s Leading Killer by 2010

According to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, cancer will overtake heart disease as the world’s leading cause of death by 2010. The increase in mortality attributable to cancer is due, in large part, to the increase of tobacco consumption in developing countries–particularly in China and India, where 40% of the world’s smokers now live.  The increase is also due to better cancer screening and reporting.

The number of people diagnosed with cancer is expected to hit 12 million this year, with the number of deaths expected to be 7 million.  An annual one percent increase worldwide in cases and deaths is expected,  with even larger increases in China, Russia and India.  Experts expect that number of new cancer cases annually will hit 27 million by 2030, with 17 million deaths. 

According to Dr. Douglas Blayney, president-elect of the American Society of Clinical Oncology:

“Few are aware that cancer already kills more people in poor countries than HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined. And if current smoking trends continue, the problem will get significantly worse.”

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