According to a study made public this week by the American Cancer Society, cancer accounts for 7.6 million victims this year or in other words, 20,000 people die of cancer every day.
The predictions for this year go even further and estimate 12 million victims (based on data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer), most of which come from developing countries.
Responsible for the ongoing spread of cancer are smoking and fad diets, unhealthy habits that people seem to often be addicted to these days.
According to the report, deaths caused by cancer are more frequent in developing countries, with 6.7 million cases and 4.7 million deaths, as opposed to the developed countries, where from a total of 5.4 million cases, 2.9 million will die.
Cancer caused by infections, such as stomach, cervical or liver cancer, is mainly encountered in developing countries, rather than developed ones: 26 percent of the cancer cases in developing countries are related to infections, while only 8 percent account for infection related cases in developed countries.
Ahmedin Jemal, Co-author to the report, stated: “The burden of cancer is increasing in developing countries as deaths from infectious diseases and childhood mortality decline and more people live to older ages when cancer most frequently occurs.”
Referring to occurrence rates in children, 75 percent of the children diagnosed with cancer life around five years in North America and Europe, while the survival rates for Central American countries are much lower – three years, but only 48 to 62 percent survive that long.
While the most commonly diagnosed cases of cancers among women are lung, breast and colorectal for the developed countries, and breast, cervical and stomach in developing countries, among men the highly encountered cancer types are prostate, lung and colorectal in developed countries, and lung, stomach and liver in developing countries.
The differences in statistics between the developing countries and the developed ones are caused by the lack of health services which can provide on-time detection and treatment of cancer.
According to Ahmedin Jemal, this is not the only element which influences cancer spread: “This cancer burden is also increasing as people in the developing countries adopt western lifestyles such as cigarette smoking, higher consumption of saturated fat and calorie-dense foods, and reduced physical activity.”