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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/4/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Preventative health policies must be implemented to curtail massive 'human disaster,' officials say

An aging world population will lead to more cancer cases globally - as much as 57 percent worldwide in the next 20 years. Preventative measures must be taken in order to head off an imminent "human disaster," according to the World Health Organization.

Cutting smoking rates would have a significant impact, as lung cancer remained the most commonly diagnosed cancer (1.8 million cases a year, or 13 percent of total cancer diagnoses) and the deadliest, accounting for about one-fifth (1.6 million) of all cancer deaths worldwide.

Cutting smoking rates would have a significant impact, as lung cancer remained the most commonly diagnosed cancer (1.8 million cases a year, or 13 percent of total cancer diagnoses) and the deadliest, accounting for about one-fifth (1.6 million) of all cancer deaths worldwide.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/4/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Cancer rates, prevention, lung cancer, smoking


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As prepared by the WHO's specialized cancer agency, the World Cancer Report, released on World Cancer Day, predicts new cancer cases will rise from an estimated 14 million annually in 2012 to 22 million within two decades.

In this same period, cancer deaths are predicted to rise from 8.2 million a year to 13 million.

Stop the rumbling in their bellies -- by going here --

"We cannot treat our way out of the cancer problem," Christopher Wild, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer says. "More commitment to prevention and early detection is desperately needed in order to complement improved treatments and address the alarming rise in cancer burden globally."

The economic cost put towards the worldwide fight against cancer was estimated at $1.16 trillion, which is hurting the economies of rich countries and beyond the means of poor ones, according to the report.

Half of all cancers were preventable, the report said, and could have been avoided if current medical knowledge was acted upon. The disease could be tackled by addressing lifestyle factors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, diet and exercise; adopting screening programs; or, in the case of infection-triggered cancers such as cervical and liver cancers, through vaccines.

"I know the report said we can't treat our way out of (the cancer problem) but there are major things we can do," Dr. David Decker who works in oncology at Florida Hospital in Orlando says. "Virtually 80 or 90 percent of lung cancers are caused by smoking. I know stopping smoking is not easy for people, but it does seem like a pretty simple way to reduce the numbers."

"The cancers rates are not going up for shocking reasons, but for reasons that are easier to understand, and if we improve overall health, there are things we can do to prevent this from happening," Decker added.

Cutting smoking rates would have a significant impact, as lung cancer remained the most commonly diagnosed cancer (1.8 million cases a year, or 13 percent of total cancer diagnoses) and the deadliest, accounting for about one-fifth (1.6 million) of all cancer deaths worldwide.

In lieu of spreading just so much more gloom and doom, the report has a positive impact, experts say. It may lend urgency to the fight against cancer. Countries such as the United States present examples of success stories stemming from legislation and financial resources devoted to cancer prevention.

"The good news is, in (the United States), cancer mortality is trending downward, and that would be more true if you make an age adjustment," Dr. Walter Curran, chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Emory University's School of Medicine in Atlanta, says.

"Since we have an aging population, the cancer rate increases, and if you adjust for the aging of America, the cancer rate is declining notably."

Citing an example, Curran said a typical 20-year-old American who doesn't smoke, "who has a good diet and a healthy lifestyle, someone with moderate alcohol consumption and who takes preventive health measures like regularly seeing a doctor and getting exercise -- their chance of cancer is significantly less than someone who for example lives in a developing country in Africa right now."

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