Global Burden of Cancer

Cancer is a major burden of disease worldwide. Each year, tens of millions of people are diagnosed with cancer around the world, and more than half of the patients eventually die from it. In many countries, cancer ranks the second most common cause of death following cardiovascular diseases. With significant improvement in treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases, cancer has or will soon become the number one killer in many parts of the world. As elderly people are most susceptible to cancer and population aging continues in many countries, cancer will remain a major health problem around the globe.

In this review, we summarized published data to describe the severity of the burden. We also analyzed the GLOBOCAN 2002 database to evaluate the morbidity and mortality of cancer in various geographic regions around the world. The GLOBOCAN 2002 database was put together using the huge amount of data available in the Descriptive Epidemiology Group of the International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC), a World Health Organization agency in Lyon, France []. Incidence data are available from cancer registries. They cover either entire national populations or samples of such populations from selected regions. Cancer registries also provide statistics on cancer survival. Mortality data by cause are available for many countries through the registration of vital events.

Cancer data are always collected and compiled sometime after the events to which they relate, so the most recent statistics available are always “late.” GLOBOCAN 2002 was first made available in September 2005 and presented estimates for 2002. These estimates are based on the most recent incidence, mortality, and survival data available at IARC, but more recent figures may be available directly from local sources. The Age-Standardized Rate (ASR, world standard) is calculated using the five age groups of 0 to 14, 15 to 44, 45 to 54, 55 to 64, and ≥ 65 years. The weights of the world standard population for the five age groups were 0.31, 0.43, 0.11, 0.08, and 0.07, respectively

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