Send to

Choose Destination
Scand J Public Health. 2018 Feb;46(1):27-36. doi: 10.1177/1403494817715400. Epub 2017 Jul 1.

The global cancer burden and human development: A review.

Author information

Section of Cancer Surveillance, International Agency for Research on Cancer, France.



This review examines the links between human development and cancer overall and for specific types of cancer, as well as cancer-related risk-factors and outcomes, such as disability and life expectancy.


To assess human development, the Human Development Index was utilized continuously and according to four levels (low, medium, high, very high), where the low and very high categories include the least and most developed countries, respectively. All studies that assessed aspects of the global cancer burden using this measure were reviewed.


Although the present cancer incidence burden is greater in higher Human Development Index countries, a greater proportion of the global mortality burden is observed in less developed countries, with a higher mean fatality rate in the latter countries. Further, the future cancer burden is expected to disproportionally affect less developed regions; in particular, it has been estimated that low and medium Human Development Index countries will experience a 100% and 81% increase in cancer incidence from 2008 to 2030, respectively. Disparities were also observed in risk factors and average health outcomes, such as a greater number of years of life lost prematurely and fewer cancer-related gains in life expectancy observed in lower versus higher Human Development Index settings.


From a global perspective, there remain clear disparities in the cancer burden according to national Human Development Index scores. International efforts are needed to aid countries in social and economic transition in order to efficiently plan, implement and evaluate cancer control initiatives as a means to reduce the widening gap in cancer occurrence and survival worldwide.


Cancer; global; human development; incidence; inequalities; review; socioeconomic

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center