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Cancer may be top killer by 2010

December 10, 2008
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ATLANTA - Cancer will overtake heart disease as the world's top killer by 2010, part of a trend that should more than double global cancer cases and deaths by 2030, international health specialists said in a report released yesterday.

Rising tobacco use in developing countries is believed to be a huge reason for the shift, particularly in China and India, where 40 percent of the world's smokers now live.

So is better diagnosing of cancer, along with the downward trend in infectious diseases that used to be the world's leading killers.

Cancer diagnoses around the world are expected to hit 12 million this year.

Global cancer deaths are expected to reach 7 million, according to the new report by the World Health Organization.

An annual rise of 1 percent in cases and deaths is expected - with even larger increases in China, Russia, and India.

That means new cancer cases will probably mushroom to 27 million annually by 2030, with deaths hitting 17 million.

By 2030, there could be 75 million people living with cancer around the world, a number that many healthcare systems are not equipped to handle.

"This is going to present an amazing problem at every level in every society worldwide," said Peter Boyle, director of the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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