Study: Cancer Deaths Rise 20.9% to 10 Million Over 9 Years


Results from a study conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation show that new cases jumped 26.3% over the same period.

Cancer deaths rose 20.9% to 10 million and new cases jumped 26.3% to 23 million between 2010 and 2019, according to the results of a study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

In 2010, total cancer deaths numbered 8.29 million worldwide and new cancer cases were at 18.7 million.

“Ensuring that global progress against cancer burden is equitable is crucial,” Jonathan Kocarnik, PhD, research scientist at IHME, said in a statement. “This will require efforts to reduce disparities in cancer prevention, treatment, and survival and the incorporation of local needs and knowledge into tailored national cancer control plans.”

Investigators estimated the cancer burden and trends globally for 204 countries and territories.

They found that, among 22 groups of diseases and injuries globally in 2019, cancer was the second leading cause of death, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), and years of life lost (YLLs).

The 5 leading causes of cancer-related DALYs for both sexes combined, in order, were tracheal, bronchus, and lung (TBL) cancer; colon and rectum cancer; stomach cancer; breast cancer; and liver cancer.

TBL cancer was the leading cause of cancer deaths in 119 countries and territories for males and 27 countries and territories for females.

Additionally, breast cancer was the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among females worldwide, including for 119 countries.

For cancer overall, the global age-standardized mortality and incidence rates decreased by 5.9% and 1.1% over the 9 years, respectively.

From a country perspective, and the age-standardized incidence rate fell in 75 countries and territories, and the age-standardized mortality rate decreased in 131 countries and territories.

The declines globally are promising, but investigators said there may be setbacks in cancer care and outcomes, because ofCOVID-19. The effects of the pandemic on cancer morbidity and mortality, as well as control and efforts were not accounted for in this study.

On a global scale, 96.9% of cancer related DALYs, which is the sum of years lived with disability and YLLs, can be attributed to premature death or YLLs.

Investigators analyzed cancer burden based on the socio demographic index (SDI), a composite measure of average years of education, income per capital, and total fertility rate for individuals younger than aged 25 years.

Of the 22 groups of diseases and injuries in the study, total cancer is the leading cause of DALYs for the high SDI quintile and among the top 5 causes of DALYs for 3 of the remaining 4 SDI quintiles.

The reduction in rates of incidence and mortality appear to be driven by higher SDI locations.

For morality, age standardized rates decreased in middle, middle-high, and high quintiles and increased in low and low-middle quintiles.

For incidence, the age-standardized rates decreased in the high-middle and middle quintiles, with the largest decrease in the high SDI quintile, while increasing in the low, low-middle, and middle SDI quintiles.

The study results were published in JAMA Oncology and are part of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2019.


Cancer deaths rose to 10 million worldwide in 2019. EurekAlert. News release. December 30, 2021. Accessed January 3, 2022.

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