World Cancer Day: Some Key Considerations
Thursday the 4th of February 2021 was World Cancer Day. While this was somewhat overshadowed by other news, it is useful to remember some important facts about cancer. The folks over at “Our World in Data,” provide us with key details. The first one shows that cancer is the second leading cause of death across the globe; and has been causing an increasing number of deaths annually over the past 20 years.
Among other key facts are the following:
Almost half – 46% in 2017 – of all people who died from cancer were 70 or older.
As the world population is growing and aging the global number of cancer deaths is increasing.
Adjusted for the increase and aging of the world population the rate of cancer deaths has declined slowly – the same is true for many countries. The world is making very slow progress.
Lung cancer kills most people and smoking is largely to blame. As the share of smokers is declining the rate of lung cancer deaths is following.
Cancer survival rates differ strongly between different countries across the world.
Cancer survival rates often much lower in poorer countries.
Looking at the types of cancer, the following chart shows the relative distribution of causes. Tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancer is the leading form of cancer deaths across most high and middle-income countries. However, the leading form in lower income countries varies: colon and rectum; liver; cervical; stomach; breast and prostrate all top the list in several countries and regions.
When it comes to distribution by age, almost half – 46% in 2017 – of all people who die from cancer are 70 or older. Another 41 percent are between 50 and 69 years old – so that 87% of all cancer victims are older than 50 years.
The prevalence of cancer around the world is shown in the image at the top of this post. The following slideshow gives an overview of other statistics related to cancer.