Melbourne, Australia - With the number of global cancer cases expected to increase by more than 50 percent by 2030, researchers around the globe have collaborated to create a new tool for global leaders to determine what actions they must take to better control cancer.

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The American Cancer Society's newly published The Cancer Atlas, Second Edition— issued for the first time in both book and interactive website formats—was released today at the World Cancer Congress, here, in partnership with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) within the World Health Organization, and the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). The data featured in the book and on the website highlight the complex nature of the global cancer landscape, but also point to strategies that governments can use to reduce their cancer burden.

The annual number of new cancer cases worldwide is predicted to increase from 14 million in 2012 to almost 22 million in 2030 due to population growth and aging alone. But each country has different challenges according to their level of development, demographics, risk factors and lifestyle patterns, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Faced with this challenge, researchers from all over the world culled through numerous data sources to create The Cancer Atlas to help global health experts determine what actions they must take to better control cancer.

"We know more about burden of cancer — and how to reduce it — than we do about any other noncommunicable disease," said John R. Seffrin, Ph. D., CEO, ACS. "Information is a powerful tool in the hands of passionate, dedicated individuals. However, making sense of the mountains of available data can be a challenge."

The Cancer Atlas alleviates this problem, consolidating research from 184 countries and the best sources available, including the IARC GLOBOCAN database, into a comprehensive guide to the global cancer landscape. The website features an interactive map and tables and visually-stunning chapter pages that organize the information in a highly accessible and discoverable way. The digital interactive promotes cancer prevention and control worldwide by arming those who need it with the most complete information available on the global realities of cancer. It highlights country-by-country strengths and weaknesses worldwide, allowing policymakers, researchers and academics to fully assess differences in risk, burden and prevention, and emphasizes the potential for improvement by closing those gaps.

"As nations industrialize and develop, the number of risk factors such as tobacco use, diet, and physical inactivity increase, and life expectancy increases, allowing for people to live long enough to get cancer," said Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, Ph.D., lead author of the Cancer Atlas, Second Edition and vice president of surveillance research at the American Cancer Society.

While highly developed countries tend to be associated with higher cancer risk, Jemal says these countries have also seen declines in cancer mortality due to advances in early detection and treatment. "In the U.S., for example, more than 1.3 million cancer deaths have been averted over the past 20 years."

Economically developing countries such as India, China, and other East and Central Asian countries account for nearly half of the world's new cancer cases and deaths. Recognizing and identifying the growing risks will help leaders create a well-structured plan to combat cancer.

"Perhaps the most striking message from The Cancer Atlas is the inequality in access to the very interventions that can either prevent or effectively treat and manage the disease," said Christopher Wild, director, IARC. "In relation to cancer, where you live affects your risk of developing the disease, how you live with the disease, and ultimately whether you survive the disease. One of the great cancer control challenges of the 21st century is to bring the benefits of effective interventions to as many people as possible, including in low- and middle-income countries."

Cary Adams, CEO, UICC, added: "What we need is the engagement of governments and national cancer leaders around the world to put that knowledge into practice. These steps do not need breakthrough science to be effective. They demand the application of known interventions which are effective in all situations, as well as the transfer of knowledge so the challenge of cancer becomes manageable in the minds of the many."

Other findings from The Cancer Atlas include:

  • Smoking causes more than 16 different types of cancer and accounts for 20 percent of all global cancer deaths.
  • Indoor air pollution caused by solid fuel use is estimated to cause about 2.5 million deaths each year in developing countries, or about 4.5 percent of global deaths each year.
  • 137 countries have a national cancer plan.
  • 129 countries have not yet introduced the HPV vaccine, which may prevent infections and certain types of cancers, nearly triple the number of countries (45) that have introduced the vaccine.
  • There were more than 32 million cancer survivors globally in 2012.
  • By 2025, 19 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in men and women based solely on projected demographic changes.

The Cancer Atlas, Second Edition is authored by more than 60 medical and subject matter experts from six continents. Together, the contributors have published more than a thousand papers, articles and books. Translated editions of the book, available in Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic, and Russian, will be launched in 2015.