The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released new studies in December 2020 that show that breast cancer has become the most dominant form of the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) plans to create a global breast cancer initiative in response, and in collaboration with IARC and the International Atomic Energy Agency. This should help improve cancer detection around the world, especially in at-risk and in-poverty communities.
Not to be ignored, one of Joe Biden’s strange presidential promises was to eliminate cancer by the end of his presidency. Whereas that might be a bit of a reach, it does suggest that there could be an infusion of cash for research aimed at ending cancer as quickly as possible.
Cancer is a top health problem around the world. Numbers of cancer diagnoses have increased by nearly 100 percent over the past 20 years. That means one in five people will likely develop cancer before they die. The numbers are expected to increase again — albeit more slowly — in the next 20 years.
Although our ability to fight against and treat cancer has improved, the number of overall deaths has still increased simply because of those additional diagnoses.
There are many reasons for this trend. Lifestyle changes like unhealthy diet, sedentary living, or smoking likely contributed, but many areas of the country are experiencing a more positive outlook after turning these factors around. Perhaps the biggest factor is the fact that people are living longer lives. Poverty and childhood death have declined steadily — and substantially — over the past two decades. This trend will also likely continue.
Unfortunately, cancer treatment was disrupted last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO surveys concluded that at least 40 percent of countries around the world experienced issues with late-stage diagnosis and treatment accessibility because of COVID-19. Treatment interruptions became more common, as did abandoning treatment altogether.