Medical Reading

17 Million Cancer Deaths Predicted By 2030 Because Of Smoking

May 26, 2017

The head of the United Nations cancer agency has said that Cancer deaths will more than double to 17 million people each year by 2030, with poor countries shouldering the heaviest burden from the disease.

An ageing population will increase worldwide cancer rates in the coming years, especially in developing countries where the number of people who smoke and drink is on the rise, said Peter Boyle, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The disease will affect poorer countries harder because of limited health budgets and a lack of treatments such as radiotherapy that can extend people's lives, he told the European Cancer Conference.

He added, " Putting population growth and ageing to one side, the exportation of cancer risk factors, primarily tobacco smoking, from developed countries will continue to be the major cause of cancer risk and cancer burdern in less developed countries."

For many years, many thought cancer was mainly a problem in rich nations in part because health officials assumed people in poorer countries did not live long enough to develop cancer.

This trend is changing as citizens in developing countries live longer and continue cancer causing activities such as smoking, Boyle said.

But he said Europe offers an example that something can be done because even as cancer cases rise, with the disease is killing fewer people.

This shows that programmes such as increased screening and education aimed at preventing tobacco use helped decrease European cancer deaths to 935,219 in 2000, nearly 10 percent below expectations.

"This approach has clearly being successful. In Europe good quality care exists for the great majority of people," he said.