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Deaths from cancer soar due to obesity, smoking, living longer


Fresh fruits and vegetables... overall death rates of men choosing a ‘prudent’ diet, rich in vegetables, fruit, fish and beans were reduced by 36 per cent

Fresh fruits and vegetables… overall death rates of men choosing a ‘prudent’ diet, rich in vegetables, fruit, fish and beans were reduced by 36 per cent

• Disease is now second biggest killer worldwide after heart condition
• Patients with prostate tumour more likely to die if they eat diet high in red meat, fat, ‘white’ carbs

SOARING numbers of people are dying from cancer, a global study has revealed.

New figures show that the proportion of all worldwide deaths attributable to cancer has risen from 12 per cent in 1990 to 15 per cent in 2013.

Cancer has moved from the third leading global cause of death to the second leading cause behind heart disease and stroke.

Experts have blamed the rise on a growing and ageing population – as well as lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity and diet.

They called the figures ‘striking’ and said they should serve as a ‘wake up call’ to Governments and public health officials around the globe.

The figures released today also reveal that in 2013 (the most up to date statistics) there were 14.9 million new cases of cancer, 8.2 million deaths and 196.3 million years of a healthy life lost due to the disease.

In developed countries, new cases of kidney cancer have increased the most, while developing countries have seen the biggest rise in breast cancer cases.

For men, cases of prostate cancer have risen the most worldwide, while incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma has risen the most in women.

Between 1990 and 2013, the number of years of healthy life lost to cancer, which is measured in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) increased by 29 per cent globally.

The study, called The Global Burden of Disease, provides a comprehensive assessment of new cases of cancer, and cancer-related death and disability.

Meanwhile, men diagnosed with prostate cancer are more likely to die from the disease if they eat an unheatlhy diet, experts have warned.

Researchers found a diet high in red and processed meat, fat and refined grains was linked to an increased risk of death.

The findings appear in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

They found patients eating typically Western diets were two-and-a-half times more likely to succumb to the disease.

Furthermore, the scientists at Harvard University in Boston, United States, found those who consumed Western diets also had a 67 per cent increased risk of dying from any causes.

Overall death rates of men choosing a ‘prudent’ diet, rich in vegetables, fruit, fish and beans were reduced by 36 per cent.

Researchers analysed health and diet data on 926 men diagnosed with prostate cancer, who were participating in a US investigation, called the Physicians’ Health Study.

Following their diagnosis the men were followed for an average of 14 years, and placed in one of four groups, according to the type of diet they typically ate.

Figures for the top 10 most-diagnosed cancers were as follows:
*Tracheal, Bronchus and Lung Cancer: 1.8 million new cases and 1.6 million deaths.
*Breast Cancer: There were 1.8 million new cases and 464,000 deaths
*Bowel: 1.6 million new cases and 771,000 deaths.
*Prostate: 1.4 million new cases and 293,000 deaths.
*Stomach: 984,000 new cases and 841,000 deaths.
*Liver: 792,000 and 818,000 deaths.
*Cervical: 485,000 new cases and 236,000 deaths.
*Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: 465,000 new cases and 226,000 deaths.
*Oesophageal: 442,000 new cases and 440,000 deaths
*Leukaemia: 414,000 new cases and 265,000 deaths.

Researchers produced the estimates after scouring cancer registries, health records, post-mortem reports and other sources of data on 28 cancers in 188 countries.

However, they acknowledge that data on cancer incidences and deaths is sparse in many countries.

Men were more likely to develop cancer between birth and age 79, with a third of men and a fifth of women developing cancer worldwide.

Tracheal, bronchus and lung cancer was the leading cause for cancer death in men and women, with 1.6 million deaths.

For women, breast cancer was the leading cause of lost years of healthy life globally and for men it was lung cancer, according to the study.

The authors, led by United States (US) oncologist, Dr. Christina Fitzmaurice, from the Global Burden of Disease Cancer Collaboration Group, concluded:

“Cancer poses a major threat to public health worldwide, and incidence rates have increased in most countries since 1990.

“The trend is a particular threat to developing nations with health systems that are ill-equipped to deal with complex and expensive cancer treatments.

“The annual update on the Global Burden of Cancer will provide all stakeholders with timely estimates to guide policy efforts in cancer prevention, screening, treatment, and palliative care.”

The study was reported online in the journal JAMA Oncology.

Meanwhile, Harvard researcher, Dr. Jorge Chavarro, said: “There is currently very little evidence to counsel men living with prostate cancer on how they can modify their lifestyle to improve survival.”

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