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Cancer cases rise to be world's main health challenge

Global cases of cancer have increased by a fifth in 10 years, now totalling 12 million worldwide and this figure is set to continue to “dramatica...

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|Sep 9|magazine9 min read

Global cases of cancer have increased by a fifth in 10 years, now totalling 12 million worldwide and this figure is set to continue to “dramatically” increase.

Health experts are warning progressively sedentary lifestyles are to blame for such a surge in not only cancer, but other lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) is now claiming a healthier diet and more active lifestyle would prevent 2.8 million new cases of cancer each year.

Governments across the world are being urged to tackle what is being described as the world’s biggest health challenges and the WCRF is asking them to help “avoid a public health disaster.”

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The Fund has also described the upcoming United Nations (UN) health summit as a “once in a generation” chance for governments to unite to tackle this growing health trend.

It is being argued that approximately a third of all non-communicable diseases (NCDs) could be avoided by implanting minor lifestyle changes such as limiting alcohol and tobacco intake and encouraging people to make healthier lifestyle and diet choices.

However, NCDs are also an area of concern in developing countries, contradicting the popular belief they only occur in developed countries.

In fact, is has been estimated 80 percent of the annual 32 million NCD related deaths occur in countries with lower-middle incomes.

The WCRF has again warned this figure has the potential to rise to 56 million deaths worldwide by 2030.

Additionally, out of the 12 million deaths caused by cancer each year, seven million of these again occur in developing countries.

Martin Weisman, the Senior Scientific and Medical Advisor for the WCRF, told the news agency Reuters: “With millions of lives at risk around the world, the stakes are incredibly high.

“People are still unaware that risk factors such as alcohol and obesity affect cancer risk, while at the same time, from television advertising to the pricing of food, our society works in a way that discourages people from adopting healthy habits.”

The UN summit is due to take place in New York on the 19-20 September.

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