Globally, cancer diagnoses increased by a startling 28 percent between 2006 and 2016, but at least part of the reason is simply that people are living longer. Therefore, they are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease at some point. Screening for various forms of cancer has also improved, meaning that although diagnoses have increased, early treatment is likely to be more successful in prolonging lives. According to research published in the journal JAMA Oncology by the Global Burden of Disease Cancer Collaboration, which reviewed the prevalence of 29 types of cancer, 17.2 million people were diagnosed with some form of cancer in 2016, and 8.9 million people died from cancer. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, eating processed foods, sun exposure, and being sedentary were also blamed for an increase in certain cancers, above the expected rise due to longer life expectancy alone.
Looking at cancer around the world:
- The biggest increase in cancer diagnoses occurred in low and middle-income nations, where tobacco products are heavily promoted and fast food options have become more readily available.
- Tobacco use is reflected in the continuing domination of lung cancer as the world's most-deadly cancer, causing approximately 20 percent of global cancer deaths in 2016.
- For women, breast cancer is the most deadly form of the disease. Cervical cancer rates have dropped thanks to the prevalence of the HPV vaccine, although they remain high for women in the developing world.