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Study estimates global cancer cases, deaths in 2015

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In 2015, there were an estimated 17.5 million cancer cases around the globe and 8.7 million deaths, according to a new report from the Global Burden of Disease Cancer Collaboration published online by JAMA Oncology.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide and estimates of its burden around the globe are vital for cancer control planning.

The report by Christina Fitzmaurice, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Washington, Seattle and coauthors estimated cancer deaths using vital registration system data, cancer registry incidence data and verbal autopsy data.

Among the report's key findings were:

  • Between 2005 and 2015, cancer cases increased by 33 percent, mostly due to population aging and growth plus changes in age-specific cancer rates.
  • Globally, the odds of developing cancer during a lifetime were 1 in 3 for men and 1 in 4 for women.
  • Prostate cancer was the most common cancer globally in men (1.6 million cases); tracheal, bronchus and lung (TBL) cancer was the leading cause of cancer deaths for men.
  • Breast cancer was the most common cancer for women (2.4 million cases) and the leading cause of cancer deaths in women.
  • The most common childhood cancers were leukemia, other neoplasms, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and brain and nervous system cancers.

Limitations of the study include that its estimates depend on the quantity and quality of the data sources available.

"Cancer control, which requires a detailed understanding of the cancer burden as provided in the GBD [Global Burden of Disease study], is of utmost importance given the rise in cancer incidence due to epidemiological and demographic transition," the study concludes.

For more details and more study findings, please visit the For The Media website.

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(JAMA Oncol. Published online December 1, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.5688; available pre-embargo at the For The Media website.)

Editor's Note: The article contains funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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Kayla Albrecht, M.P.H.
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