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Cancer to Become World's Leading Killer

Health experts say cancer will become the leading cause of death in the world by the year two thousand ten. An agency of the World Health Organization released a report on cancer last month. Health experts predicted the number of people who die from cancer will soon be greater than deaths from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. The experts say more people will die from cancer than heart disease, the current leading killer.

The report says one reason for the growing deadliness of cancer is more people smoking cigarettes in developing countries. The report says forty percent of the world's smokers are believed to live in China and India alone.

Other things are believed to have an effect. They include high fat diets, fast food meals and reduced physical activity.

The WHO report says an estimated twelve million people will be found to have some form of cancer this year. It predicts that more than seven million people will die early from the disease. And, more than five million of the new cancer cases will involve people in developing countries.

The number of cancer cases and deaths from cancer are expected to increase one percent each year. Experts are predicting the largest increases will be in China, Russia, and India.

Without new treatments, the WHO said, the number of new cancer patients could increase to twenty-seven million a year by twenty-thirty. The number of them who die each year from the disease could reach seventeen million.

A few kinds of cancer are more common in some areas. For example, the rate of breast cancer in Japan, Singapore and Korea is now three times what it was forty years ago. Stomach cancer has become more common in some areas where food is often not stored in a cold place.

Another report says the number of men and women dying from cancer has dropped in the United States. It was the first reported drop in American cancer cases and deaths since the nation began collecting such information.

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the report last month. It said the drop was mainly the result of fewer cases of lung, prostate and colorectal cancer in men. In women, it resulted from fewer cases of breast cancer and colorectal cancer.

The American Cancer Society says governments can do things to help prevent the increase in cancer cases and deaths. One idea is to provide poor and developing nations with vaccines that help to prevent some cancer-causing infections. One example of a cancer causing infection is human papillomavirus. This virus can cause cervical cancer in women.

Another suggestion is more support for tobacco-control programs. And the Cancer Society also says health officials and governments should invest in cancer research and early detection.


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