I have previously provided some definitions of frequently used cancer terms. As promised, I will continue with the cancer stats theme and provide some cancer statistics for worldwide incidence and mortality (see previous blog entry for these definitions.
When providing information about the number of deaths associated with cancer overall and even some specific cancers, age must be factored in. This is because age plays such a large factor in determining risk of death from cancer. Older folks do have much higher risks associated with dying from cancer than younger folks do. Another important thing to note is that worldwide statistics are becoming more and more readily available as there are more country and regional cancer registries established and the fact that deaths are almost always classified as to what the cause of death was, so deaths related to cancer are available in most countries, regions and other sources. However, not all information is available in all places and some countries are known to under report their cancer deaths by a certain amount. Information I will provide come from a source (referenced below) that was comprehensive in 1999.
Let’s first take a quick glimpse into population based relative survival rates for various cancer for the entire regions of US, China, India and Europe. I will just give some highs and lows and not all of the data. For example, both developing and Westernized countries have low 5 year survival data for pancreatic cancer at between 4-5%. This means that this cancer really does kill and no areas are overall immune from this. Lung cancer is also a big killer with very low survival rates in all countries (from 14-8%). However, unlike pancreatic cancer if you live in the west your chances for survival are on average 14% but if you are from developing nations it is more like 8%. Another cancer that is difficult to treat and has high mortality over five years in that of stomach cancer. Here if you live in India your overall 5 year survival is about 7% but can reach as high as 21% if you live in the US. A very big difference exists in leukemia (there are lumped together here, but remember there are quite a few different ones). In the US your overall survival rate is 42%, but it is as low as 1/4th of that if you live in China where your 5 year survival is on average 10%. So you see, it really depends on where you live. On the other hand, the cancer that presents with the highest survival rates are that of testicular cancer (guys are too lucky) where the survival rates are as high as 95% in the US and as low as 50 in developing countries, and roughly 74% in China. Other cancers that are in the 80-90% region include breast cancer (overall), melanoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and certain types of uterine cancer. Again, the numbers go down quite dramatically for these cancers in developing countries as well as India and China. An important thing to note is that in many blood cancer where survival rates are increased very high due to the availability of transplants, developing countries, India, and China do NOT have such high rates due to limited access to these types of therapies which are very expensive, etc. For the entire world, the worst cancer is pancreatic cancer at a total survival rate of just 1% and the best cancer belongs to testicular cancer at 78%, and then breast cancer at around 61%. As you can see it really maters allot where one resides and the standard of care present or absent there.
Now let’s look at global estimates of all cancers and their overall mortality rates. Approximately 8.1 million cancer were newly detected in 1991 and that compares to about 37% more than 1975 when the last comprehensive count was done. That is about 2.1% a year and faster than the rate of replacement over that period. That same year about 5.2 million deaths occurred and half of these came from the developed world. So, although the 5 year survival rates are generally worse in non developed countries the overall mortality is not that different. Looking at overall world statistics the total for women and men is about 3.8 and 4.2 million incidence rates. Thus, men are still in the lead. Looking at incidence of individual cancers, men still die mostly of lung cancer (16% of all cancers) and women of breast (21%) and the second most common cancer for men is stomach at @11% and women is colon and rectum at @10%. The biggest worldwide incidence of cancer for both men and women is still lung followed by stomach. This is interesting due to the fact that smoking is a known VERY serious risk factor that can be eliminated and that food and diets are very nicely linked to increased risks of stomach cancer.
Ok well there are lots more that I can say, but why don’t we take a break. Again do let me know if you have any questions of comments about this or any other cancer issue. I am more than happy to provide more feedback and comments if needed. Please do come and visit me at my website at Cancer Made Simple!
For more information about the stats found on this blog please see…. the 1999 publication by D Max Parkin et al. C A C a n c e r J C l i n 1 9 9 9 ; 4 9 : 3 3 – 6 4
Global Cancer Statistic, 1999
Thank you Dr. C