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The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has projected a substantial increase in cancer cases worldwide, with figures expected to hit 35 million by 2050. This represents a 77 percent jump from the 20 million cases diagnosed in 2022.

According to the IARC, “Over 35 million new cancer cases are predicted in 2050,” highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to combat this growing health crisis.

The IARC’s analysis pinpoints tobacco, alcohol, obesity, and air pollution as key factors driving the anticipated increase in cancer incidences. This surge is particularly alarming for lower-income countries, which Bray notes “are going to see a projected increase of well over doubling of the burden by 2050,” underscoring the disproportionate impact on these less equipped nations.

Freddie Bray, the IARC’s head of cancer surveillance, said, “Certainly the new estimates highlight the scale of cancer today and indeed the growing burden of cancer that is predicted over the next years and decades.”

The IARC’s findings also emphasize the variances in cancer risk based on geographic and developmental factors, with developed countries facing significant increases and less developed regions seeing the largest proportional rises.

Bray added the current state of cancer types, explaining, “Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide … particularly in men, whereas breast cancer is certainly the most common cancer in women.” He also highlighted the need for enhanced preventive measures and healthcare provisions, advocating for “a lot more investment in the early diagnosis and screening [of cancers]” as well as in palliative care to mitigate the disease’s impact across global populations.


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