Chart of the Day: The Coming Cancer Tsunami

Cancer is a leading cause of death globally. According to the WHO, about 8 million people died from cancers last year. That figure is poised to rise — and dramatically so. In 2012, there were an estimated 14 million cancer cases. By 2035 that number is expected to rise to 22 million, according to a the WHO’s World Cancer Report released today.   Via BBC.

cancer in the future

As you can see from the chart, this increase in cancer globally will largely be driven by an increase in the developing world. From a public health standpoint this is worrisome because the countries that will experience a sharp increase in cancer cases are also those that are least equipped to effectively treat the disease. (More than 70% of cancer deaths worldwide occur outside of North America and Europe already.) Unless the developing world starts to address some of the leading causes of cancer, like tobacco use, the burden that cancer exacts on the people and health systems of the developing world will become terribly onerous.