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8.7 million cancer deaths in 2015


Latest estimates have revealed that there were 8.7 million deaths because of cancer in 2015 globally. There were 17.5 million cancer cases and 208.3 million disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs).

Between 2005 and 2015, incident cancer cases increased by 33%, of which 12.6% were due to population growth, 16.4% due to an aging population, and 4.1 % due to increasing age-specific incidence rates, according to the latest Global Burden of Diseases study published in the latest edition of Jama Oncology.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide. The study was done for 32 cancers in 195 countries and territories from 1990 to 2015.

 For men, the most common cancer globally was prostate cancer (1.6 million cases). Tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer deaths and DALYs in men (1.2 million deaths and 25.9 million DALYs). For women, the most common cancer was breast cancer (2.4 million cases). Breast cancer was also the leading cause of cancer deaths and DALYs for women (523 000 deaths and 15.1 million DALYs). Overall, cancer caused 208.3 million DALYs worldwide in 2015 for both sexes combined. Between 2005 and 2015, age-standardized incidence rates for all cancers combined increased in 174 of 195 countries or territories. Age-standardized death rates (ASDRs) for all cancers combined decreased within that timeframe in 140 of 195 countries or territories. Countries with an increase in the ASDR due to all cancers were largely located on the African continent, the study by Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

In India also, breast cancer topped the list of cancers followed by lip and oral cancer, stomach and tracheal cancer. India also had the highest number of cancers in South Asia. However, it was tracheal cancer that claimed the most lives in India followed by stomach, eosophageal and colon cancers, the study said.

Of all cancers, deaths between 2005 and 2015 decreased significantly for Hodgkin lymphoma. The number of deaths also decreased for esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, and chronic myeloid leukemia, although these results were not statistically significant, the study said.

As part of the epidemiological transition, cancer incidence is expected to increase in the future, further straining limited health care resources. Appropriate allocation of resources for cancer prevention, early diagnosis, and curative and palliative care requires detailed knowledge of the local burden of cancer. The GBD 2015 study results demonstrate that progress is possible in the war against cancer. However, the major findings also highlight an unmet need for cancer prevention efforts, including tobacco control, vaccination, and the promotion of physical activity and a healthy diet, the study said."

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