Global cancer cases reach 14 million, World Health Organization says

Lung cancer

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The number of people being diagnosed with cancer in the world each year has leaped to more than 14 million, the World Health Organization says.

The data for 2012 shows a marked rise on the 12.7 million cases in 2008.

In that time the number of deaths has also increased, from 7.6 million to 8.2 million.

The rising burden of cancer is being driven by a rapid shift in lifestyles in the developing world to more closely reflect industrialised countries.

Rising rates of smoking and obesity as well as people living longer are contributing to the rise.

Lung cancer, which is mainly caused by smoking, was the most common cancer globally, with 1.8 million cases - about 13% of the total.

The WHO also described a "sharp rise" in cases of breast cancer. Both the incidence and mortality have increased since 2008. The disease in now the most common cancer in women in 140 countries.

Dr David Forman, from the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer, said: "Breast cancer is also a leading cause of cancer death in the less developed countries of the world.

"This is partly because a shift in lifestyles is causing an increase in incidence, and partly because clinical advances to combat the disease are not reaching women living in these regions."

The WHO said there was an "urgent need" for the advances made in detection, diagnoses and treatment of breast cancer to be implemented in developing nations.

The WHO predicts the number of cancer cases will soar to more than 19 million a year by 2025.

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