In a new Communication published in the journal Cancer, scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) examine the shifting profiles of premature mortality worldwide. The authors found that cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD) were the leading causes of premature death (i.e. at ages 30–70 years) in 127 countries worldwide. CVD was the leading cause in 70 countries, including Brazil and India, and cancer was the leading cause in 57 countries, including China. In 50 other countries, including most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, cancer and CVD were among the three most common causes of premature death. In only six countries were neither cancer nor CVD among the three most common causes of premature death.
The study, based on World Health Organization (WHO) mortality estimates for 2019 in 183 countries, examined the ranking of deaths due to cancer versus CVD at ages 30–70 years. The authors indicate that on the basis of recent trends, cancer may surpass CVD as the leading cause of premature death in most countries over the course of this century. The researchers conclude that translating WHO guidance into coordinated national programmes is essential to limit cancer’s increasing dominance of the global premature mortality landscape.
Bray F, Laversanne M, Weiderpass E, Soerjomataram I.
The ever-increasing importance of cancer as a leading cause of premature death worldwide
Cancer, Published online 4 June 2021;