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Crisis of Cancer Impact Worldwide Exposed

GENEVA, February 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

New UN Agency report shows cancer is now the world's biggest killer - with the number of cases set to explode in coming years

World Cancer Day: On World Cancer Day 2014, a new global cancer report compiled by UN Agency, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) shows:[1]

  • As a single entity, cancer is the biggest cause of mortality worldwide[2] - there were an estimated 8.2 million deaths from cancer in 2012
  • Global cancer incidence over four years increased by 11%* to an estimated 14.1 million cases in 2012 - equal to the population of India's largest city (Mumbai)[3]
  • Cancer cases worldwide are forecast to rise by 75% and reach close to 25 million over next two decades  

"The rise of cancer worldwide is a major obstacle to human development and well-being," comments Dr Christopher Wild, Director of IARC. "These new figures and projections send a strong signal that immediate action is needed to confront this human disaster, which touches every community worldwide, without exception," stresses Dr Wild.

The World Cancer Report 2014 confirms that inequality exists in cancer control and care globally. The number of deaths due to the disease amongst the world's poor is growing at a faster rate than previously expected. Specifically, by 2025 almost 80% of the increase in the number of all cancer deaths will occur in less developed regions.[1]

Unlike the developed countries, a large proportion of cancers in developing nations are caused by infections, such as the human papillomavirus (HPV), which accounts for more than 85% of all HPV-related cancer cases.[4] As these countries increasingly adopt a more western lifestyle we are witnessing increasing levels of smoking, alcohol use and a lack of physical activity - all known risk factors for cancer.[1]

Low- and middle-income countries are most at risk of cancer overwhelming their health systems and hindering economic growth, as they have the least resources and infrastructure to cope with the predicted levels of disease escalation.[1] Worryingly, according to the World Health Organisation, only 50% of low- and middle-income countries have operational National Cancer Control Plans.

"Governments must recognise the growing cancer burden in their country. The new figures from IARC show that the incidence of cancer globally will continue to grow unless we recognise the threat and act on it now. On World Cancer Day, we demand that Governments around the world move to stop the millions of predicted, needless and premature deaths caused by cancer by developing and implementing a national plan which includes proven preventive and early detection measures," urges Cary Adams, Chief Executive Officer, Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).

With spiraling care and treatment expenditure, poor and wealthy nations must all contribute in the fight against cancer. Currently almost 4.2 million people per year die prematurely (aged 30 to 69 years) due to the disease across the world.[2] Unless decisive action is taken to develop practical strategies to address cancer, this is projected to increase to well over five million premature deaths per year by 2025.[5]

Practical solutions to reduce premature deaths must have prevention as their cornerstone. These include:

  • Development of National Cancer Control Plans
  • Awareness programmes against modifiable risks factors
  • Cancer screening programmes - shown to have decreased some cancers by at least 25%[1]
  • Introduction of HPV vaccination programmes

The release of the World Cancer Report underpins the 2014 World Cancer Day theme 'Debunk the myths'. The data shows that the world cannot afford to sit back and continue to let the global cancer burden grow. For more information on how to get involved, please visit:

* Differences between 2008 and 2012 may partially reflect the increasing availability of data sources and improvements in methods between GLOBOCAN versions.

About World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day takes place every year on 4 February and is the single initiative under which UICC, its members, partners and the entire world can unite together in the fight against the global cancer epidemic. World Cancer Day is an initiative of UICC, through which we aim to help save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease.

About World Cancer Report 2014

Compiled by IARC, The World Cancer Report series is recognised as an authoritative source of global perspective and information on cancer. The first volume appeared in 2003 and the second in 2008. This third volume in the series encompasses both established knowledge and recent research achievement.

The World Cancer Report provides a professional, multidisciplinary assessment of all aspects of the geographical distribution, biology, etiology, prevention, and control of cancer, predicated on research. The World Cancer Report is designed to provide non-specialist health professionals and policy-makers with a balanced understanding of cancer control and to provide established cancer professionals with insights about recent development.

To purchase the World Cancer Report 2014 please use the following link:

About UICC

UICC unites the cancer community to reduce the global cancer burden, to promote greater equity, and to integrate cancer control into the world health and development agenda.UICC is the largest cancer-fighting organisation of its kind, with over 800 member organisations across 155 countries representing the world's major cancer societies, ministries of health, research institutes, treatment centres and patient groups.

UICC is dedicated to continuing to work with world leaders to increase their support for cancer control measures, and hold them to account for the cancer commitments made in the UN Political Declaration.

UICC uses World Cancer Day to lobby to:

  • Develop targets and indicators to measure the implementation of policies and approaches to prevent and control cancer
  • Raise the priority accorded to cancer in the global development agenda
  • Promote a global response to cancer

UICC and its multisectoral partners are committed to convincing governments to adopt specific time-bound targets that address the global burden of cancer and other NCDs.

UICC is also a founding member of the NCD Alliance, a global civil society network that now represents almost 2,000 organisations in 170 countries.

For more information visit:


1. World Cancer Report 2014. IARC. Available at:

2. WHO Global Health Observatory. Available at:

3. City Mayors. Available at:

4. De Martel C et al. The global burden of cancers attributable to infections in the year 2008: a review and synthetic analysis. Lancet Oncol 2012;13:607-15

5. Ferlay J et al. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available from:


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