In report released by the World Health Organization’s Cancer Agency (International Agency for Research on Cancer) before World Cancer Day 2024, it is estimated that the number of new cancer cases worldwide will reach 35 million (3.5 crore) by the year 2050. These represents a significant increase of 77% compared to the 20 million cases detected in 2022.
The report surveyed 115 countries and highlighted the lack of economic resources available for cancer prevention and treatment in many of this nations. Dr. Andre Ilbawi, the technical lead on cancer for the WHO, emphasized the need to prioritize cancer prevention and halt its progression.
Several key factors were identified by the WHO as contributing to the rising number of cancer cases. These include the aging population, increased exposure to air pollution and environmental factors, tobacco and alcohol use, and obesity. The research revealed that the risk of developing cancer is growing due to tobacco consumption and exposure to its smoke in Asian countries. Meanwhile, the consumption of ultra-processed foods, particularly processed meat, has emerged as a significant cause of cancer in Western countries.
The projected increase in cancer cases highlights the urgency to implement effective prevention strategies worldwide. Governments, healthcare organizations, and individuals need to prioritize initiatives aimed at reducing exposure to risk factors such as smoking, environmental pollution, unhealthy diets, and sedentary lifestyles. Equally important is the need to enhance access to affordable and quality cancer care for everyone, regardless of their economic status.
On this World Cancer Day, observed annually on February 4th, the global community is encouraged to join forces in raising awareness about cancer prevention, early detection, and improved treatment options. By working together, it is possible to make a significant impact on reducing the burden of cancer and improving the lives of millions affected by this disease.