New cancer cases to soar 77% to 35m by 2050, WHO warns
GENEVA – The number of new cancer cases will rise to more than 35 million in 2050 – 77 per cent higher than the figure in 2022.
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) on Feb 1 cited tobacco, alcohol, obesity, and air pollution as key factors in the estimated rise.
Over 35 million new cancer cases are predicted to be diagnosed in 2050, according to a WHO statement. This is a 77 per cent increase from the 20 million cases in 2022.
“The rapidly growing global cancer burden reflects both population ageing and growth, as well as changes to people’s exposure to risk factors, several of which are associated with socioeconomic development,” said the WHO.
“Tobacco, alcohol and obesity are key factors behind the increasing incidence of cancer, with air pollution still a key driver of environmental risk factors.”
The most developed countries are expected to record the greatest increases in case numbers, with an additional 4.8 million new cases predicted to be diagnosed in 2050, compared with 2022 estimates, the WHO added.
But in terms of percentages, countries on the low end of the Human Development Index (HDI) used by the United Nations will see the greatest proportional increase – up 142 per cent.
And countries in the medium range are due to record a 99 per cent increase.
“Likewise, cancer mortality in these countries is projected to almost double in 2050,” the WHO said.
Dr Freddie Bray, head of the cancer surveillance branch at IARC, said: “The impact of this increase will not be felt evenly across countries of different HDI levels.
“Those who have the fewest resources to manage their cancer burdens will bear the brunt of the global cancer burden.” – AFP