Researchers from around the world have worked together to try to measure the global burden of cancer and they estimate there were 14.9 million new cases of cancer, 8.2 million deaths and 196.3 million years of a healthy life lost in 2013, according to a Special Communication published online by JAMA Oncology.
The Global Burden of Disease study by the Global Burden of Disease Cancer Collaboration group provides a comprehensive assessment of new cancer cases (incidence), and cancer-related death and disability. Researchers relied on cancer registries, vital records, verbal autopsy reports and other sources for cause-of-death data in their study of 28 cancers in 188 countries from 1990 to 2013. The authors acknowledge that cancer registry and vital records registry data are sparse in many countries.
Overall results indicate that from 1990 to 2013, the proportion of cancer deaths as part of all deaths increased from 12 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2013. Between 1990 and 2013, lost years of healthy life (disability-adjusted life years, DALYs) due to all cancers for both men and women increased by 29 percent globally.
Men were more likely to develop cancer between birth and age 79, with 1 in 3 men and 1 and 5 women developing cancer worldwide. Tracheal, bronchus and lung (TBL) cancer was the leading cause for cancer death in men and women with 1.6 million deaths. For women, breast cancer was the leading cause of lost years of healthy life globally and for men it was lung cancer, according to the study.
More information on the Top 10 cancers ranked by the highest number of new cases globally in 2013:
"Population-level observations of cancer burden and time trends as presented herein help highlight aspects of cancer epidemiology that can guide intervention programs and advance research in cancer determinants and outcomes. Cancer control strategies have to be prioritized based on local needs, and current data on cancer burden will be necessary for the development of national NCD (noncommunicable diseases) action and cancer control plans. In acknowledgment of this need, annual updates of the burden of cancer will be published," the article concludes.
Editorial: Novel Methods for Measuring Global Cancer Burden
In a related editorial, Benjamin O. Anderson, M.D., University of Washington, Seattle, and John Flanigan, M.D., of the Center for Global Health, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Md., write: "In their global burden of disease (GBD) study, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), led by Murray and colleagues, developed a unique systematic analysis approach to assess global and regional causes of death, years of life lost and disability from disease and injury for countries around the world at all economic levels. These mathematically rigorous and elegant methods provide insights to disease burden that previously could only be loosely approximated. In this issue of JAMA Oncology, the Global Burden of Disease Cancer Collaboration presents the first GBD analysis by IHME of overall global cancer burden. Key questions that arise are (1) how do the outcomes of GBD analysis for cancer compare with cancer registry methodology developed by IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), heretofore considered by most to be the gold standard and (2) what new information might be gleaned to inform policy makers attempting to make headway in limiting avoidable, premature death and decreasing individual disability related to cancer?"
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