Over 35 million more cases of cancer are expected by 2050, compared to an anticipated 20 million new cases in 2022.
The cancer department of the World Health Organization has predicted that there would be 35 million new cases of cancer worldwide in 2050, a 77% increase from the number in 2022.
According to a WHO study, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) identified obesity, alcohol, tobacco, and air pollution as major contributors to the anticipated increase in cancer cases.
The IARC stated in a statement that “over 35 million new cancer cases are predicted in 2050,” which is a 77 percent increase from the approximately 20 million cases that were detected in 2022.
Freddie Bray, chief of cancer monitoring at the IARC, told Al Jazeera on Thursday that “the new estimates certainly highlight the scale of cancer today and indeed the growing burden of cancer that is predicted over the next years and decades.”
The IARC noted in the statement that accompanied its biennial study that, according to statistics from 185 countries and 36 malignancies, there were an expected 9.7 million cancer deaths in 2022.
It was stated that one in five people will at some point in their lives have cancer, and that one in nine men and one in twelve women will pass away from the illness.
The world’s cancer burden is increasing at an accelerating rate due to changes in risk factor exposure, many of which are linked to socioeconomic development, as well as population aging and growth. Air pollution continues to be a major contributor to environmental risk factors, along with obesity, alcohol use, and tobacco use as major causes of the rising cancer incidence, according to the IARC.
The IARC also noted that a patient’s location affects the risk of developing cancer.
According to the organization, the most developed nations are anticipated to see the biggest rises in case counts, with an extra 4.8 million new cases anticipated in 2050 compared to forecasts for 2022.
However, the largest proportionate gain, up 142%, would be seen by nations at the lower end of the Human progress Index (HDI), which is a measure of societal and economic progress used by the UN.
It added that a 99-percent rise is expected for nations in the middle bracket.
“The proportionate increases in the cancer burden are going to be most striking in the lower income, lower human development countries,” Bray told Al Jazeera. “This is one of the biggest challenges we are seeing.”
By 2050, the load is expected to have increased by more than twice as much.
And these are precisely the nations that are now unprepared to effectively address the cancer crisis. And in the future, it will only become larger and see an increase in the number of patients in cancer hospitals.
Despite the fact that there are over 100 distinct varieties of cancer, according to Bray, around 50% of instances are caused by the top five malignancies.
He declared, “Breast cancer is undoubtedly the most common cancer in women, but lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide… particularly in men.”
According to the IARC, as lifestyles change, populations are becoming more susceptible to many forms of cancer. For instance, colorectal cancer ranks second in terms of fatalities and is currently the third most frequent cancer. In particular, age and lifestyle variables such as obesity, smoking, and alcohol use are associated with colorectal cancer.
“Much more money ought to be allocated to early cancer detection and screening. According to Bray, there need to be a significant increase in funding for both illness prevention and palliative care for the sick.