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Tobacco still biggest global cancer risk

Wednesday October 16th, 2019

Tobacco remains the single biggest cause of cancer deaths worldwide, according to a new global cancer atlas published today.

A new edition of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Atlas covers risk factors, the burden of cancer, and actions that can be taken.

CEO of the American Cancer Society, Gary Reedy, says: “Over the last several decades, the world has seen incredible progress in the fight against cancer. Despite extraordinary advances in what we know about cancer, not everyone has benefitted from this progress equally.

“Cancer is a growing burden among people living in low- and middle income countries, and many people living in these areas cannot access the information or interventions that could save their lives.”

He adds that, by 2040, the rate of new cases is likely to reach 27.5 million, up from 17 million last year.

“We simply must do better to ensure everyone can benefit from advances in the fight against cancer,” he states.

The Cancer Atlas shows that tobacco causes more preventable cancer deaths than any other risk factor. Tobacco control methods such as taxation, smoke-free environments, restrictions on product marketing, and graphic warning labels are proven to save millions of lives, “but they can only work if leaders around the world prioritise, embrace, and implement them”.

“Only by increasing access to care can we truly realise progress against cancer for all,” says Mr Reedy. “This Cancer Atlas, Third Edition is an important source of information to help the global cancer community achieve our shared goal of a world without cancer.

“Working together with leaders around the world, we can ensure that recent progress does not stop, but instead accelerates and benefits everyone.”

The Cancer Atlas is released at the World Cancer Leaders' Summit in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, held from 15-17 October 2019.

Jemal, A. et al. The Cancer Atlas. Third Ed. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society, 2019

Tags: Cancer | Drug & Alcohol Abuse | North America | World Health

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