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New Global Survey Shows an Increasing Cancer Burden

Carter, David

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: March 2014 - Volume 114 - Issue 3 - p 17
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000444482.41467.3a
In the News

Data show a 20% increase in breast cancer from 2008 to 2012.

David Carter



The latest global statistics on cancer from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a specialized agency of the World Health Organization, were released in December 2013. GLOBOCAN 2012, released as an online database at, is the IARC's first update to its global cancer database since 2008. The database contains the most recent available estimates pertaining to 28 types of cancer in 184 countries.

The survey found many disparities between Western and industrialized countries and less developed countries in cancer mortality, incidence, and prevalence. In particular, the IARC writes, the survey “reveals patterns of cancer in women” suggesting that “priority should be given to cancer prevention and control measures for breast and cervical cancers globally.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide and ranks first and second in cancer deaths among women in undeveloped and developed regions, respectively. GLOBOCAN 2012 estimates that 1.67 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, an increase in incidence of more than 20% since 2008. Cervical cancer, the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide, is much more prevalent in less developed regions, where 87% of cervical cancer deaths occur. It's the most common cancer in women in eastern and middle Africa.

The survey estimates that there were 8.2 million cancer-related deaths and 14.1 million new cancer cases worldwide in 2012, compared with 7.6 million deaths and 12.7 million new cases in 2008. The leading cancers contributing to cancer mortality were lung cancer (19.4%, 1.59 million), liver cancer (9.1%, 0.8 million), and stomach cancer (8.8%, 0.7 million). Lung, breast, and colorectal cancers accounted for the highest incidences, at 12.9%, 11.9%, 9.7%, respectively.—David Carter

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