UN Agency Details 20% Increase in Breast Cancer Cases Globally
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – December 12, 2013 – Susan G. Komen today said the alarming growth of cancer cases worldwide –especially in developing countries – should serve as a call to action to world leaders to urgently address a growing cancer crisis. This stems from a new report issued today by the World Health Organization’s cancer agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
The new statistics highlights the stunning growth across many forms of cancer that include an estimated 14.1 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths in 2012, compared with 12.7 million and 7.6 million, respectively, in 2008. Projections from the report estimate a substantial increase to 19.3 million new cancer cases per year by 2025, due to growth and aging of the global population. More than half of all cancers (56.8%) and cancer deaths (64.9%) in 2012 occurred in less developed regions of the world, and these proportions will increase further by 2025.
Breast cancer and cervical cancer were singled out due to their sharp rise in incidence compared to other cancers, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the previous five years, breast cancer incidence has increased by more than 20%, making breast cancer the most common cause of cancer death among women (522,000 deaths in 2012) and the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in 140 of 184 countries worldwide. Cervical cancer, which can be an avoidable death given advances in related vaccines, is the fourth most common women’s cancer, with almost 70% of cases occurring in low income countries.
“I hope the new cancer statistics motivate leaders and the global health community to understand that we face a rising wave of cancer, one that will devastate developing countries where resources are scarce,” said Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, Founder and Chair of Global Strategy for Susan G. Komen. “It takes creative public-private partnerships, such as Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, to save lives by leveraging existing health platforms and working in partnership.”
Komen has been addressing the increasing rate of breast and cervical cancers in low and middle income countries for many years and counts this work as the cornerstone of its global strategy. Susan G. Komen is a founding member of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, a public-private partnership launched in 2011 by Komen, the George W. Bush Institute, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and UNAIDS. This initiative builds on existing healthcare programs to integrate cervical cancer prevention—including increased access to HPV vaccinations—screenings, and treatment as well as breast and cervical cancer education in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.
The new IARC statistics reinforce the same sense of urgency that Susan G. Komen noted with the publication of its World Breast Cancer Report 2012, done in partnership with the International Prevention Research Institute (IPRI). This Komen-funded report was authored by Dr. Peter Boyle, a former director IARC.
To date, Susan G. Komen has partnered or funded programs and research in more than 30 countries, providing approximately $46 million in funding for international breast cancer research and more than $31 million for international community education and outreach programs.