Progress In The Fight Against Cancer: A Global Overview

Bochen CAO, International Agency for Research on Cancer , France

1 Section of Cancer Surveillance, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
2 School of Public Health, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
3 Dartmouth Medical School, Dartmouth College, Lebanon,USA

Purpose: Cancer has progressively become one of the leading causes of death worldwide. An assessment of the current state and progress in reducing the burden of cancer is therefore critical to guide the future global cancer control strategies.
Methods: We extracted population-based mortality data for all-cause, cardiovascular diseases and major cancer sites (lung, stomach, female breast, colorectal and prostate) between 1981 to 2010 from the WHO Mortality Database by sex, year and age in 61 countries with high or moderate quality data.  Firstly, we used life-table methods to calculate the gain in life expectancy (GLE) due to elimination of a specific cancer death to evaluate the time-varying mortality burden. Secondly, we decomposed the change in Life expectancy between 1981 and 2010 and estimated each cancer site’s contribution to it.
Results: During the past three decades, decline in cancer mortality contribute to life expectancy (LE) increase by 1.0 year in men and 0.6 year in women in high-resource countries, and 0.2 year for both sexes in low-resource countries. Among all cancer sites included, decrease in lung cancer mortality had the largest impact to the increase in male’s LE in high-resource countries (up to 0.7 year in the Netherlands), yet its role was negligible in countries with lower resources and in women. Among women, declining breast cancer was responsible for the extension in life expectancy particularly among women in high-resource countries (up to 0.3 year in UK).
Conclusion: Our findings highlight that the marked variation in the progress in cancer control, leading to larger gap between highly and less developed country, but closing the sex gap. Global action should redirect some of the cancer control efforts to low-resource countries and support promotion of healthy lifestyles.
Funding Source: Section of Cancer Surveillance, International Agency for Research on Cancer