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article imageWorld faces a cancer tidal wave

By Tim Sandle     Jan 3, 2015 in Health
Geneva - The World Health Organization (WHO) is predicting that cancer rates globally are set to increase. At the same time the health agency calls for restrictions on the levels of sugar and alcohol made available to the world's population.
WHO scientists predict that the number of cancer cases will rise to 24 million a year by 2035 (the current estimate is 14 million cases per year.) However, the United Nations body also states that up to half of this number could be prevented. In 2010, WHO estimated the total annual economic cost of cancer was $1.16 trillion.
WHO indicates that the rates can be drastically lowered by tackling smoking, obesity and drinking, each of which the agency correlates to cancer. This runs counter to a science report made to the journal Science, where the authors concluded that most types of cancer can be put down to bad luck rather than risk factors such as smoking ("Variation in cancer risk among tissues can be explained by the number of stem cell divisions.") Nonetheless, there is some consistency with a recent article on Digital Journal which featured research that indicated smoking, obesity and alcohol account for four in 10 cancers, and as such must be regarded as lifestyle factors through which some cancers can be avoided.
According to the BBC, The World Cancer Research Fund, which is part of the WHO, stated that there was an "alarming" level of naivety about diet's role in cancer.
In more detail, the report states that the major sources of preventable cancer are:
Smoking,
Infections,
Alcohol,
Obesity and inactivity,
Radiation, both from the sun and medical scans,
Air pollution and other environmental factors,
Delayed parenthood, having fewer children and not breastfeeding.
The two contrasting sets of data open up an interesting health debate. As with many such differences of opinion, more data and observational analysis will be required to settle the issue.
More about Cancer, Sugar, Alcohol, World health organization
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