Statistics paint a changing picture


  • Breast, cervical, stomach, lung, and colorectal cancers are the most common cancers among women in developing nations.
  • Breast
    cancer now surpasses cervical cancer as the number one cause of
    cancer-related deaths in all but the poorest nations of the world.
    Developing countries account for 45 percent of the 1 million new cases
    of breast cancer diagnosed each year, and 55 percent of deaths.
  • In Latin America, two countries, Uruguay (83 per 100,000 women) and
    Argentina (75 per 100,000 women), have already reached breast cancer
    incidence rates similar to those of Canada (96 per 100,000 women),
    which are among the highest in the world.
  • Cervical cancer, now a rare disease in rich nations, causes more than 200,000 deaths annually in developing countries.

  • Lung, stomach, liver, esophageal, and colorectal cancers are the most common cancers in men in developing nations.
  • While rich countries are witnessing a decline in new cases of lung
    cancer (a result of broad antismoking campaigns), low- and
    middle-income nations-the focus of billion-dollar tobacco industry
    publicity campaigns-are experiencing the opposite trend.
  • Developing countries’ share of new lung cancer cases increased from around 30 percent in 1980 to more than 50 percent in 2007.
  • In
    China alone, smoking prevalence in the general population is 31
    percent. In adult Chinese men, smoking prevalence may be reaching 70
  • Liver cancer is also increasing among men in poor
    countries. More than 80 percent of the new cases of this disease occur
    in developing nations, with sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia
    showing the highest rates worldwide. It comes as no surprise to learn
    that in these same regions, hepatitis B virus infection, which affects
    the liver, is endemic.

Statistics: From Disease Control Priorities Project (DCPP), the American Cancer Society and the World Health Organization. Latin America breast cancer statistics from paper entitled “Tendencias del cáncer de mama en América Latina y el Caribe” by Rafael Lozano and colleagues [Salud Publica de México 2009;51(supplement 2):S147-S156].
Tobacco consumption in China prevalence statistics from paper entitled “Chinese physicians and their smoking knowledge, attitudes, and practices” by Yuan Jiang and colleagues [American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2007;33(1):15-22]. Breast cancer in developing countries statistic from Porter P. “Westernizing Women’s Risk? Breast Cancer in Lower-Income Countries” [The New England Journal of Medicine, 2008:358;213-216].