Experts react to WHO/IARC estimates of the global burden of cancer.
The following comment was provided by our friends at SMC Spain:
Eduard Teixidor, Assistant doctor of medical oncology at the Catalan Institute of Oncology and at the Girona University Hospital Doctor Josep Trueta, said:
“The data represent a wake-up call regarding the current and future implications of cancer in our global society. As problems in one part of the world become increasingly commonplace (e.g. the covid crisis), these data show that the expected increase in cancer cases will create additional pressure, especially in countries with lower rates of development.
“It should be noted that the increase in cancer cases is related to exponential population growth and improvements in life expectancy. Survival, on the other hand, is more associated with early diagnosis and treatment. While advances are being made in cancer diagnosis and treatment, these often come with a high economic impact. Growing inequity between countries will increasingly highlight differences in the ability to tackle malignancies. The current situation already represents a global problem; however, with these dynamics, it is inevitable that it will intensify exponentially sooner rather than later. It is our responsibility, as a society, to meet this challenge by implementing comprehensive prevention measures and improving the cost-effectiveness of our treatments.
“[In terms of methodology] The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is the standard setter for data collection and analysis to provide this data to society. Its analyses are rigorous and exemplary of quality. However, it is crucial to recognise that any observational study faces potential limitations, especially when addressing such a vast and diverse area. Furthermore, future projections are based on data observed so far, which implies that substantial changes may occur over time.”
Pablo Fernández Navarro, Scientific researcher at the Cancer and Environmental Epidemiology Unit of the National Epidemiology Centre, Carlos III Health Institute, member of CIBERESP and co-coordinator of the Cancer Epidemiological Surveillance Sub-programme – VICA of CIBERESP, said:
“Monitoring the situation of cancer, which is one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality in the world, is crucial to be able to control the impact of this disease on the population. In order to measure this impact, it is necessary to know its magnitude, and to do so, different types of indicators are calculated (mortality, incidence, etc.). These indicators provide very relevant information for the planning of preventive and evaluative activities that can reduce mortality or incidence or improve health care.
“The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organisation (WHO), through its Global Cancer Observatory (GCO), provides updated cancer statistics by country and world region, related to the above-mentioned indicators, following a methodology appropriate to the objective pursued.
“The latest estimates on the global burden of this disease for 2022, which are presented in a clearer format than those already available for 2020, show at a general level that lung, breast, colorectal and prostate tumours continue to occupy the main positions in terms of the burden of this disease.”
The estimates will be published on IARC’s Global Cancer Observatory at 11:00 UK Time on Thursday 01 February 2024, which is also when the embargo will lift.
Pablo Fernández Navarro: He has not answered whether he has a conflict of interest.
Eduard Teixidor: He has not answered whether he has a conflict of interest.