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What is The Cancer Atlas?
The Cancer Atlas is a powerful tool to help reduce the burden of cancer worldwide by carefully examining all aspects of the cancer equation. Users worldwide now have easy access to the latest cancer data. The Cancer Atlas highlights country-by-country-strengths and weaknesses worldwide as they relate to cancer. It allows policy makers, researchers, and academics to fully assess differences in risk, burden and prevention. The Cancer Atlas was created by the American Cancer Society, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the Union for International Cancer Control.

Hot Topics

  • Emerging evidence indicates that being overweight is linked with increased risk of cancer recurrence and decreased cancer survival.
  • Thirty-one percent of adults globally do not meet the World Health Organization recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week.
  • Quitting smoking by middle age can avoid more than 60% of the risk of lung cancer.
  • Secondhand smoke is estimated to cause 21,400 lung cancer deaths worldwide each year.
  • Indoor air pollution caused by solid fuel use is estimated to cause about 2.5 million deaths each year in developing countries, or about 4.5% of global deaths each year.

Risk Factors

  • Cancer can be caused by a variety of known risk factors, many of them preventable.
  • Cancer is related to the environment a person lives in, rather than their innate biology.
  • Many of the most common cancers are attributable to infection.
  • A diet rich in plant foods such as fruits and non-starchy vegetables is associated with a lower risk of certain cancers.
  • UV radiation causes cancers of the skin—the most common cancers.
  • The risk is also higher with high UV radiation exposure in childhood.
  • Carcinogenic exposures in the environment and the workplace are avoidable.
  • Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the USA and Europe.
  • Populations consuming high levels of arsenic in drinking water have excess risks of skin, lung and bladder cancer.
  • Indoor air pollution from solid fuel use is estimated to cause about 2.5 million deaths each year in developing countries, or about 4.5% of global deaths annually.

The Burden

  • India, China, and other East and Central Asian countries account for nearly half of the world’s new cancer cases and deaths.
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of new cases and deaths among men, while breast cancer is the leading cause of new cases and deaths among women.
  • Established causes of childhood cancers include ionizing radiation, genetic constitution and viruses, while suspected risk factors include birth characteristics and exposure to certain pollutants.
  • By 2025, 19 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in men and women based solely on projected demographic changes.
  • For many cancers, the causes remain largely unknown; however, between 1/3 and ½ of cancers can be prevented using what we already know.
  • For many cancers, the risk of getting cancer and the risk of dying from it are nearly the same in Sub-Saharan Africa, because of late stage at diagnosis and lack of treatment.
  • About 1.1 million new cancer cases and 600,000 cancer deaths are estimated to occur annually in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Reductions in colorectal cancer mortality rates in the USA began later and were slower in US blacks compared to whites.
  • China alone accounts for 50% of all cancer cases in Southern, Eastern, and Southeastern Asia.
  • Many of the most common cancers across Northern, Central, and West Asia can be prevented by tobacco control and anti-hepatitis measures
  • The three sub-regions of Oceania vary markedly in risk factors and treatment availability, resulting in diverse cancer profiles.

Taking Action

  • Between one-third and one-half of all cancers are preventable based on taking action on our current knowledge of risk factors.
  • Opportunities for cancer control exist at all stages of the cancer continuum.
  • Tobacco use, the cause of the most preventable cancers worldwide, can be substantially reduced through increased excise tax on cigarettes, smoke-free air laws, restrictions on promotion, and counter advertising.
  • In low- and middle-income countries, cigarettes have become more affordable because taxes and prices have been rising more slowly than increases in incomes.
  • Hepatitis B vaccination is estimated to avert over 700,000 future HBV-related deaths for every vaccinated birth cohort globally.
  • A majority of cervical cancer cases can be prevented by vaccination.
  • Cancer early detection involves detecting cancers at early stages when they can be effectively treated and cured.
  • Improved awareness among the general public and healthcare providers of early cancer symptoms/signs, as well as good access to effective health services can lead to earlier clinical diagnosis and prompt treatment.

U.S./North America Findings

  • In the U.S., there is a 31.1 percent cumulative risk of cancer by age 75.
  • The risk of cancer in the U.S. (31.1%) and Canada (29.1%) is more than double what it is in Mexico (13.4%).
  • Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men in the U.S.
  • Breast cancer is the mostly commonly diagnosed cancer among women in the U.S., excluding skin cancer.
  • The United States has the third highest prevalence of overweight and obesity among men in the world (72.5%), following Samoa (82.6%) and Kuwait (78.1%) and tied with Qatar.
  • While in the U.S. there is a relatively high likelihood of having cancer by age 75 (31.1%), the prevalence of cancer survivors is also high.

Global Findings

  • As nations industrialize and develop, they increase risk factors that lead to more cancer, such as tobacco use, an unhealthy diet, or physical inactivity. Increased life expectancies lead to more people living long enough to get cancer.
  • Countries that are developing economically like China, Brazil or India are facing very serious cancer problems in the coming decades and may be poorly equipped to deal with them.
  • The annual number of cancer cases worldwide is predicted to increase from 14 million in 2012 to almost 22 million in 2030 due to population growth and aging alone.
  • Smoking causes more than 16 different types of cancer and accounts for 20 percent of all global cancer deaths.
  • Tobacco is projected to kill 8 million people annually by 2030.
  • There were more than 32 million cancer survivors globally in 2012.
  • The four nations with the highest risk of cancer by age 75 — Denmark, France, Norway, Belgium – also have the highest prevalence of cancer survivors.
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in most countries worldwide.
  • Lung cancer, a largely preventable cancer, accounts for 1 in 5 cancer deaths worldwide.
  • 38 countries have large-scale breast cancer screening programs, while 147 do not.
  • 46 countries have large-scale cervical cancer screening programs, while 139 do not.
  • 36 countries have large-scale colorectal cancer screening programs, while 149 do not.

Global Best and Worsts

  • Denmark has the highest risk of cancer by age 75.
  • 34.7% of Greek women smoke, which is the highest prevalence of female smokers.
  • 61.1% of men in Timor-Leste smoke, which is the highest prevalence of male smokers.
  • Samoans are the most obese population in the world, with 82.6% of men and 88.9% of women classified as obese.
  • Belgium has the highest rate of breast cancer among women.
  • New Zealand and Australia have by far the highest prevalence of melanoma.
  • France has the highest prevalence of cancer survivors.
  • The United Arab Emirates has the lowest cancer risk among very highly developed countries.

Who should I contact for more information on The Cancer Atlas?
Members of the media may contact Elissa McCrary, Managing Director, Media Relations, at 404.417.5823 or [email protected].