New Cancer Cases Rise as Cancer Deaths Fall

Treatment advances have caused significant progress in survivorship.

Treatment advances have caused significant progress in survivorship.

While new cases of nearly all types of cancer have increased worldwide since 1990, cancer deaths in most countries have decreased, according to a study published recently in JAMA Oncology.

The study, which analyzed 28 cancer groups across 188 countries, found that prevention and treatment have caused progress in fighting certain types of cancer. Among all cancer types, only Hodgkin’s lymphoma experienced a drop in new cases between 1990 and 2013. During that time frame, however, age-standardized death rates for all cancers decreased in 126 out of 188 countries.

"Cancer remains a major threat to people's health around the world," lead author Christina Fitzmaurice, MD, said in a press release. "Cancer prevention, screening, and treatment programs are costly, and it is very important for countries to know which cancers cause the highest disease burden in order to allocate scarce resources appropriately."

Overall, there were 14.9 million new cases of cancer and 8.2 million cancer deaths across the globe in 2013. Cancer trailed only cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death worldwide.

Prostate cancer was the leading cause of cancer incidence in men, with 1.4 million new cases and 293,000 deaths in 2013. The study noted that new cases of the disease have increased more than threefold since 1990, partially as a result of the growth and aging of the population.

These factors were also the main culprit in the rise of breast cancer incidence in women, with 1.8 million new cases and 464,000 deaths in 2013. Breast cancer was the leading cause of cancer cases in women between 1990 and 2013, as the number of new cases doubled during that timeframe.

In developed countries, however, breast cancer incidence rates have either held steady or decreased since the early 2000s. In developing countries, however, incidence rates are lower but are increasing at a faster rate than in developed countries.

Other leading increases in cancer incidents worldwide since 1990 were colon and rectum cancers (92% increase) stomach cancer (23% increase) and liver cancer (70% increase).

The proportion of worldwide cancer deaths jumped from 12% in 1990 to 15% in 2013. The 3 leading causes of cancer deaths since 1990 in both men and women were liver cancer (60% increase), lung cancer (56% increase), and stomach cancer (10% increase).

The study found significant differences in incidence and death among the different countries. For example, in China, stomach cancer is the second most prevalent cause of cancer death in women instead of breast cancer. Meanwhile, in United Arab Emirates and Qatar, non-Hodgkin lymphoma was the most common cancer type in men as opposed to prostate cancer.

"The most effective strategies to address cancer will be tailored to local needs," said Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Director Christopher Murray, MD, in a press release. "Country-specific data can drive policies aimed to reduce the impact of cancer now and in the future."

Leading causes of cancer deaths globally for both sexes in 2013, with the number of deaths

1

Lung cancer

1,639,645

2

Stomach cancer

840,953

3

Liver cancer

817,969

4

Colorectal cancer

771,100

5

Breast cancer

471,011

6

Esophageal cancer

440,202

7

Other neoplasms

369,605

8

Pancreatic cancer

352,435

9

Prostate cancer

292,729

10

Leukemia

265,125

Leading causes of cancer deaths globally for men in 2013, with the number of deaths

1

Lung cancer

1,154,629

2

Liver cancer

564,201

3

Stomach cancer

530,318

4

Colorectal cancer

413,986

5

Esophageal cancer

307,886

6

Prostate cancer

292,729

7

Other neoplasms

194,544

8

Pancreatic cancer

185,133

9

Leukemia

148,931

10

Lymphoma

133,129

Leading causes of cancer deaths globally for women in 2013, with the number of deaths

1

Lung cancer

485,017

2

Breast cancer

463,990

3

Colorectal cancer

357,114

4

Stomach cancer

310,635

5

Liver cancer

253,768

6

Cervical cancer

235,732

7

Other neoplasms

175,061

8

Pancreatic cancer

167,302

9

Ovarian cancer

157,754

10

Esophageal cancer

132,315