WHO Warning: 35 Million New Cancer Cases Expected by 2050

The latest report from the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding cancer predicts that there will be over 35 million new cases of cancer in 2050. This would significantly rise from the 20 million cancer cases in 2022.

Despite significant advances in cancer treatment, this potential increase points to a continued global health concern.

Where is cancer increasing, and what types?

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, collects data on the types and mortality rates of different kinds of cancer worldwide. According to IARC, the top worldwide most common cancers in 2022 were breast, lung, and colorectal cancer.

For men, the three most common types of cancers were lung, prostate, and colorectal. Among women, the top three most common cancers were breast, lung, and colorectal cancer.

Worldwide, the highest mortality rate occurred for lung cancer, with a 16.8% chance of death from this disease. Breast cancer accounted for over 2.3 million cases worldwide in 2022 and ranked number 4 for mortality rate with almost 670,000 deaths.

77% Rise in Cancer Cases

The World Health Organization estimates that the number of new cancer cases will rise by 77% by 2050, totaling 35 million cases.

Mortality rates from cancer vary significantly throughout the world, with the highest discrepancy between countries on the very high and very low human development index.

Contributing Factors to Rising Cancer Cases

The WHO indicates that people in countries with a lower human development index may be diagnosed with cancer later than in higher-development countries, thus lowering their chances for quality treatment.

Another factor is the availability of government assistance for cancer-related treatment. The WHO referenced survey data from 115 countries with universal health coverage, finding that only 39% of these countries included basic cancer management.

Environmental factors and lifestyle choices are also factors that contribute to the risk of cancer.

The use of alcohol and tobacco contributes to cancer-rate risk, along with obesity and air pollution.

Mitigation and prevention strategies

Eliminating cancer is unrealistic, but there is potential for prevention. Improving access to screening and treatment could mitigate risks, as well as cutting down on personal risk factors such as smoking.

Many types of cancers are preventable, so lifestyle, exercise, and avoiding risk factors are undoubtedly important. Preventative measures to lower your risks include avoiding smoking, keeping up with cancer screenings, and eating nutritious meals.