Cancer is skyrocketing worldwide and urgent steps are needed to curtail a catastrophic rise in incidents of the disease, the World Health Organization said in a report this week.
New cancer cases are expected to soar globally from an estimated 14 million in 2012 to 22 million new cases a year within the next 20 years.
Cancer deaths are expected to jump from about 8.2 million to 13 million a year.
I guess my question is, is there really an epidemic of new cancers, or can this be explained by:
- Better and earlier identification of cancers that always existed but went undiagnosed.
- A reduction in early death and disease that allows more people to grow old into the years where cancers are common
In both these explanations, increases in cancer diagnoses could easily be, counter-intuitively, caused by improving local medical care rather than any environmental or genetic factor.
The article seems to imply that the explosion is due to environmental and nutrition issues. I am certainly willing to believe that rising incomes allow more people to smoke, causing cancer issues. But my guess is that most of this increase is from my two explanations. Far be it for me to suggest that folks who depend on fear-driven funding of cancer care might exaggerate the scope of the "epidemic".