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Smoking fuels cancer growth in Third World

Disease is increasing in developing countries as people embrace habits linked to cancer such as smoking and fattier diets, the American Cancer Society reports.
/ Source: Reuters

About 7.6 million people will die this year worldwide from various types of cancer, with lung cancer — heavily driven by smoking — killing 975,000 men and 376,000 women, the American Cancer Society said Monday.

Cancer also is increasing in developing countries as people embrace habits linked to cancer such as smoking and fattier diets, American Cancer Society epidemiologist Ahmedin Jemal said in a telephone interview.

In all, about 12.3 million people will develop cancer this year, the organization projected, using data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization.

About 20,000 people die of cancer every day worldwide, the report showed. Smoking was heavily responsible for the lung cancer scourge.

Cancer's burden is on the rise in developing countries as deaths from infectious diseases and child mortality fall and more people live longer, Jemal said. Cancer is more common as people get older, Jemal noted.

Lower survival rates
The report estimated 5.4 million people will get cancer and 2.9 million will die of cancer in developed nations, with 6.7 million cases and 4.7 million deaths in developing nations.

Overall, 75 percent of children with cancer live for five years in Europe and North America, compared to three-year survival rates of only 48 to 62 percent in Central American countries.

Cancers related to infections, such as stomach, liver and cervical cancer, were more common in developing countries, the group said. Fewer people survive cancer in developing countries due to lack of availability of early detection and treatment services, according to the report.

Globally, 15 percent of all cancers are caused by infections. The Helicobacter pylori bacteria causes stomach cancer, human papillomavirus causes cervical cancer and hepatitis can cause liver cancer.

Breast cancer scourge
Among men, the three most commonly diagnosed cancers are prostate, lung and colorectal cancer in developed countries and lung, stomach and liver cancer in developing countries.

Among women, the three most common cancers are lung, breast and colorectal in developed countries and breast, cervical and stomach cancer in developing countries.

About 465,000 women will die of breast cancer this year, making it the leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide, the group said.