In a new Perspective published in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) predict that the incidence of all cancer types combined will double by 2070, relative to 2020 levels, if the latest incidence trends continue for the major cancer types. The greatest increases are predicted to occur in lower-resource settings.
The researchers also assessed studies modelling the future burden of cancer, highlighting how comprehensive cancer prevention strategies can markedly reduce the prevalence of major cancer risk factors, and thus decrease the number of future cancer cases.
The authors identify tobacco smoking, overweight and obesity, and infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types as the major contributors to the predicted future burden of cancer; tobacco smoking will remain the foremost preventable cause of cancer. The researchers predict that, unless countries urgently implement additional national cancer control programmes aimed at preventing cancer, 34 million new cancer cases will occur per year by 2070, twice the number that occurred in 2020.
This Perspective underscores the catastrophic consequences of inaction in cancer prevention. Supporting global cancer prevention efforts is essential to lowering the global cancer burden.
Soerjomataram I, Bray F.
Planning for tomorrow: global cancer incidence and the role of prevention 2020–2070
Nat Rev Clin Oncol, Published online 2 June 2021;