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Cancer

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Summary

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and the disease is responsible for an estimated 8.2 million deaths a year.1 Liver, lung, stomach, breast, and colorectal cancer cause the most deaths each year.2 Approximately 14 million cases of cancer occur each year, but this number is expected to rise to over 20 million in the next decade.3 Over 70% of the world's cancer deaths occur in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America.4

The leading behavioral risks for cancer are alcohol and tobacco usage, lack of physical activity, high body mass index, and low fruit and vegetable intake.5 Tobacco usage is a particularly dangerous practice and tobacco accounts for more than 20% of global cancer deaths.6 The risk of contracting cancer increases substantially with age, and 78% of all cancer cases in developed countries occur in individuals 55 and older, as do 58% of all cases in developing countries.7

About 15% of all cancer cases worldwide are attributed to infectious agents such as the hepatitis B virus, HIV, and the human papillomavirus.8 However, this percentage jumps up to 26% in developing countries due to the lack of vaccinations and the decreased availability of screenings and testing for infection.9 Additionally, many developing countries do not have the resources, facilities, training, or technology to effectively diagnose and treat chronic forms of cancer. According to the World Health Organization, more than 30 developing countries, half of them in Africa, that still do not have access to radiation therapy.10 Africa also has much lower survival rates for highly curable forms of cancer, such as cervical cancer.11 Often in African treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery are reserved only for the wealthy and 70% of cancer cases in the developing world are diagnosed too late for treatment to be effective.12 

Show References
1 http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/
2-6 Ibid
7 http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@epidemiologysurveilance/documents/document/acspc-027766.pdf
8-9 Ibid
10 http://www.who.int/dg/speeches/2010/iaea_forum_20100921/en/
11-12 Ibid
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