Cancer, the 21st Century Pandemic

In 2020, ten million people have died worldwide from cancer, a disease of which more than 200 types are known and that, despite great progress in diagnosis and treatment, is still one of the leading causes of death in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

The horizon is not very hopeful. The prognosis for the year 2040 is that 28.4 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed, a figure well above the 19.3 million cases detected during this year (47% more). That will mean that one in five people worldwide will develop cancer during their lifetime.  In less developed countries the outlook is even worse. The increase in the number of cases will be between 64 and 95%, according to the report GLOBOCAN 2020 made by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which collects data from 185 countries.

Breast Cancer Tops Blacklist

According to this report, breast cancer in women is the most common tumor worldwide. One out of every eight tumors diagnosed in 2020 was breast cancer and claimed the lives of 685,000 women. By incidence, it is followed by lung cancer (11.4%), colorectal cancer (10%), prostate cancer (7.3%) and stomach cancer (5.6%).

Although breast cancer has the highest prevalence rate, it is not the most deadly. This dramatic honor is held by the lung tumor, which causes 18% of cancer deaths. It is followed by colorectal (9.4%), liver (8.3%), stomach (7.7%) and breast cancer in women (6.9%).

By sex, lung cancer remains the most common in men, and also the most lethal. In women, however, the most common is breast cancer, being also the one with the highest mortality rate.

These alarming figures make it necessary to advance in diagnosis and prevention to detect cases in early stages, which will significantly improve the chances of survival, in addition to improving access to treatment. For this reason, the EU recently presented the European strategy "Mission against Cancer" which covers the period 2021-2027 and aims to save more than three million lives by 2030. A praiseworthy and achievable challenge not without its difficulties.

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