Cancer doubling in 20 years – IARC report


According to a forecast by the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of cancer cases worldwide is expected to almost double by 2040. This emerges from the world cancer report of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is prepared every five years.

In 2018, 18.1 million people worldwide contracted cancer, 9.6 million people died of it. In 2040, around 29 to 37 million people are expected to develop cancer, the IARC reports on World Cancer Day this Tuesday.

The head of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Michael Baumann, also assumes such a development. The reasons are the growing and aging world population, but also “lifestyle factors”, said Baumann on Monday in Berlin. For Germany, one expects an increase in the number of new cases annually from the current 500,000 to around 600,000 cases.

Baumann called on people to adopt a healthier lifestyle. “According to the current state of knowledge, if you adhere to everything we currently know, you could actually prevent 40 percent of cancers through primary prevention.”

Baumann mentioned points that many people would know but that would still not be implemented well: no smoking, no obesity, physical activity, healthy eating, little or no alcohol and “take all vaccinations and precautions that are recommended against cancer”.

In Germany, 65 percent of all people with cancer currently survived for at least five years. This would make Germany well ahead internationally. But that also means “that 35 percent of all citizens who get cancer do not survive five years”. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), almost every second person in Germany falls ill with cancer: the lifetime risk is 42.6 percent for women and 47.5 percent for men.

Surviving cancer is also a matter of prosperity, according to the IARC, which is part of the WHO. Affected people in poorer countries as well as poorer sections of the population in rich countries would have less chance of survival. The probability of dying from cancer decreased by 20 percent between 2000 and 2015 in high-income countries, and only by five percent in low-income countries.

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