World Health: New cases of cancer will increase by 77% by 2050

The World Health Organization's cancer control agency warned on Thursday that the number of new cancer cases will rise to more than 35 million in 2050, a 77 percent increase compared to the number recorded in 2022.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, affiliated with the World Health Organization, said tobacco, alcohol, obesity and air pollution are the major drivers of this expected increase.

The agency said in a statement – “It is expected that more than 35 million new cases of cancer will be recorded in 2050,” that is, a 77% increase from the number diagnosed in 2022, which is about 20 million cases.

“The rapidly increasing global cancer burden reflects population aging and growth, as well as changes in people's exposure to risk factors, many of which are associated with social and economic development,” the agency said.

“Tobacco, alcohol and obesity are the main factors behind the increase in cancer cases, and air pollution remains a major driver of environmental risk factors,” the statement said.

Infographic of cancer patients around the world

biggest increase

The World Health Organization said the most developed countries are expected to record the largest increase in the number of cases, with an additional 4.8 million new infections in 2050 compared to the 2022 estimate.

But in percentage terms, countries that rank lowest on the Human Development Index (HDI) used by the United Nations will see the largest increase (142%).

Countries with an average Human Development Index are expected to register a growth of 99%.

“Similarly, cancer deaths are expected to nearly double in these countries by 2050,” WHO said.

“The impact of this increase will not be felt equally in countries with different levels of the Human Development Index,” said Freddy Bray, head of the cancer surveillance branch at the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

He said countries that have the fewest resources to manage their cancer burden will bear the brunt of the global cancer burden.

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