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INTRODUCTION

You are director of the World Health Organization and ask your global experts which cancer should receive the most attention to prevent its incidence and mortality and consequently decrease the burden of cancer mortality worldwide the most.

Learning Objectives

  1. What is the overall cancer mortality worldwide?

  2. What are the cancers that cause the highest number of cancer deaths?

  3. How has the lung cancer mortality rate changed over the last century?

  4. Which parts of the world have the highest lung cancer mortality?

GLOBAL LUNG CANCER MORTALITY

It is estimated that in 2018 worldwide 18.1 million people were diagnosed with cancer, and 9.6 million died of cancer. Non-communicable diseases are now the cause for most deaths globally; cancer is expected to be the leading cause of deaths in the 21st century.1

In 2018, the global incidence of lung cancer was 2,093,876 (11.6% of all cancers), and global deaths by lung cancer were 1,761,007. Of all cancer deaths, 18.4% were due to lung cancer.1 In 2012, the lung cancer incidence rates were lower, 1.8 million, which demonstrates the expanding epidemic of lung cancer worldwide.2,3

Lung cancer is the leading cause of deaths caused by cancer in men and women in high-income countries based on registry data collected by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and published by GLOBOCAN (Global Cancer Registry provided by the UICC (Union for International Cancer Control)) and the World Health Organization (WHO) (Figure 2-1). Smoking is the main reason for the high incidence of lung cancer. WHO estimated that 100 million people died of tobacco’s effect in the 20th century, and for the 21st century, WHO predicted that 1 billion could die due to smoking.4

Figure 2-1.

Estimated new cancer cases and deaths worldwide. (Reproduced with permission from Bray F, Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Siegel RL, Torre LA, Jemal A. Global cancer statistics 2018: GLOBOCAN estimates of incidence and mortality worldwide for 36 cancers in 185 countries. CA Cancer J Clin. 2018;68(6):394-424. © 2018 American Cancer Society.)

The incidence rate of lung cancer varies significantly by country following the country’s usage of tobacco in the population (Figures 2-2 and 2-3).

Figure 2-2.

Cancer mortality by country. (From Bray F, Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Siegel RL, Torre LA, Jemal A. Global cancer statistics 2018: GLOBOCAN estimates of incidence and mortality worldwide for 36 cancers in 185 countries. CA Cancer J Clin. 2018;68(6):394-424. Reproduced with permission from World Health Organization. © WHO 2018. All rights reserved.)

Figure 2-3.

Lung cancer incidence by region and gender. (Reproduced with permission from Bray F, Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Siegel RL, Torre LA, ...

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