Cancer rates to soar in poor countries: WHO

Cancer rates to soar in poor countries: WHO

Cancer rates to soar in poor countries: WHO

Updated 1 June 2012, 9:47 AEST

A new study says worldwide cases of cancer are likely to rise by nearly 75 per cent by 2030, with 90 per cent of the rise occurring in the poorest countries.

The French study, published in the The Lancet Oncology, says the surge will be driven by demographic and lifestyle factors.

The researchers have found that in 2008 there were 12.7 million new cases of cancer, which would rise to 22.2 million by 2030.

In many countries, falls in cancers linked to infection have been offset by cancers of the colon, rectum, breast and prostate which are associated with a "westernised" diet.

The paper, from the World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer, notes that many developing countries are expected to see a rise in living standards in coming decades.

But the researchers say those advances could come at a cost - an increase in cases of cancers linked to poor diet, lack of exercise and other bad habits associated with affluence.

They predict that middle-income countries such as China, India and Africa could see an increase of 78 per cent in the number of cancer cases by 2030.

The researchers say targeted intervention could slow the projected increase.

They recommend effective primary prevention strategies, alongside the implementation of vaccination, early detection and effective treatment programmes.