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J Clin Oncol. 2006 May 10;24(14):2137-50.

Patterns of cancer incidence, mortality, and prevalence across five continents: defining priorities to reduce cancer disparities in different geographic regions of the world.

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  • 1Nutritional Epidemiology and Biostatistics Branches, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD 20852-7244, USA.


Efforts to reduce global cancer disparities begin with an understanding of geographic patterns in cancer incidence, mortality, and prevalence. Using the GLOBOCAN (2002) and Cancer Incidence in Five Continents databases, we describe overall cancer incidence, mortality, and prevalence, age-adjusted temporal trends, and age-specific incidence patterns in selected geographic regions of the world. For the eight most common malignancies-cancers of lung, breast, colon and rectum, stomach, prostate, liver, cervix, and esophagus-the most important risk factors, cancer prevention and control measures are briefly reviewed. In 2002, an estimated 11 million new cancer cases and 7 million cancer deaths were reported worldwide; nearly 25 million persons were living with cancer. Among the eight most common cancers, global disparities in cancer incidence, mortality, and prevalence are evident, likely due to complex interactions of nonmodifiable (ie, genetic susceptibility and aging) and modifiable risk factors (ie, tobacco, infectious agents, diet, and physical activity). Indeed, when risk factors among populations are intertwined with differences in individual behaviors, cultural beliefs and practices, socioeconomic conditions, and health care systems, global cancer disparities are inevitable. For the eight most common cancers, priorities for reducing cancer disparities are discussed.

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