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Cancer deaths reach 10 million in 2019 and new cases amounted to 23 million worldwide

Cancer deaths rose to 10 million and new cases reached 23 million globally in 2019, according to a scientific study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the Faculty of the University of Washington (United States) .

The document, which was published on December 30, 2021 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), is part of the 2019 Global Burden of Disease, Injury and Risk Factors Study (GBD 2019). The figures have increased compared to the last study, which dates back to 2010, when 8.29 million deaths from cancer and 18.7 million new cases were registered, which means that until 2019 there was a rebound of 20.9 percent and 26.3 percent, respectively.

Researchers have calculated cancer burden and trends globally for 204 countries. In this way, they have discovered that cancer has ranked second behind cardiovascular diseases in the number of deaths, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and years of life lost (YLL) among 22 groups of diseases and injuries a world level in 2019.

Within the total cancer burden, the top five causes of cancer-related DALYs for both genders combined were cancer of the trachea, bronchus, and lung (TBL); colon and rectal cancer; stomach cancer; breast cancer; and liver cancer. TBL cancer was the leading cause of cancer death in 119 countries and territories for men and 27 countries and territories for women. Breast cancer was the leading cause of cancer-related death among women worldwide, including 119 countries.

Although the absolute burden of cancer increased in both deaths and new cases between 2010 and 2019, the global age-standardized incidence and death rates decreased by 5.9 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

From a country perspective, the age-standardized death rate decreased in 131 countries and territories and the age-standardized incidence rate decreased in 75 countries and territories. Small percentage declines globally are promising, but researchers warn that there may be setbacks in cancer care and outcomes due to COVID-19. The effects of the pandemic on morbidity, mortality, and cancer prevention and control efforts were not accounted for in this GBD study, which looked at the global cancer burden through 2019.

"Ensuring equitable global progress against the cancer burden is crucial. This will require efforts to reduce disparities in cancer prevention, treatment and survival and incorporating local needs and knowledge into personalized national cancer control plans.", said the study’s lead author, Jonathan Kocarnik.

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