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Global Burden of Cancer From 2010 to 2019


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In an analysis reported in JAMA Oncology, researchers in the Global Burden of Disease 2019 Cancer Collaboration found a global increase in new cases of cancer, cancer deaths, and cancer-related disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) between 2010 and 2019, with aspects of cancer burden differing according to sociodemographic index (SDI) status. 

Study Details

The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2019 (GBD 2019) includes data on cancer burden for 29 cancer groups in 204 countries and territories. The current analysis estimated cancer incidence, mortality, years lived with disability, years of life lost, and DALYs in 2019 and since 2010. Estimates were also analyzed according to SDI, a composite measure of educational attainment, income per capita, and total fertility rate in persons aged < 25 years.

The results of this systematic analysis suggest that the global burden of cancer is substantial and growing, with burden differing by SDI. These results provide comprehensive and comparable estimates that can potentially inform efforts toward equitable cancer control around the world.
— Global Burden of Disease 2019 Cancer Collaboration

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Key Findings

Globally, in 2019, there were an estimated 23.6 million (95% uncertainty interval [UI] = 22.2–24.9 million) new cancer cases (17.2 million, excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers) and 10.0 million (95% UI = 9.36–10.6 million) cancer deaths, with an estimated 250 million (235–264 million) DALYs due to cancer.

Compared with 2010 estimates, these figures represent increases of 26.3% in new cases (18.7 million, 95% UI = 18.0–19.3 million), 20.9% in cancer deaths (8.29 million, 95% UI = 7.89–8.57 million), and 16.0% in DALYs (216 million, 95% UI = 208–223 million).

Among 22 groups of diseases and injuries included in the GBD 2019 study, cancer was second only to cardiovascular diseases in number of deaths, years of life lost, and DALYs in 2019.

Cancer burden differed across SDI quintiles. In 2019, the proportion of years lived with disability that contributed to DALYs increased with SDI, ranging from 1.4% (95% UI = 1.1%–1.8%) in the low SDI quintile to 5.7% (95% UI = 4.2%–7.1%) in the high SDI quintile. In 2019, the high SDI quintile had the highest number of new cases (5.56 million, 95% UI = 5.02–6.09 million, excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers). The middle SDI quintile had the highest number of cancer deaths (2.88 million, 95% UI = 2.62­–3.15 million) and DALYs (76.3 million, 95% UI = 69.7–83.2 million).

From 2010 to 2019, the low and low-middle SDI quintiles exhibited the largest percentage of increases in numbers of new cases (annual increases of 3.5% and 3.7%) and cancer deaths (annual increases of 3.2% and 3.3%).

The investigators concluded, “The results of this systematic analysis suggest that the global burden of cancer is substantial and growing, with burden differing by SDI. These results provide comprehensive and comparable estimates that can potentially inform efforts toward equitable cancer control around the world.”

Jonathan M. Kocarnik, PhD, MPH, of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, is the corresponding author for the JAMA Oncology article.

Disclosure: The study was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, and others. For full disclosures of the study authors, visit jamanetwork.com.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.
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