The World Health Organization’s cancer agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), issued a stark warning today: new cancer diagnoses are projected to skyrocket by 77% by 2050, reaching over 35 million cases annually. This alarming increase is attributed to a combination of lifestyle and environmental factors, with tobacco, alcohol, obesity, and air pollution identified as the key culprits.

WHO also published survey results from 115 countries, showing a majority of countries do not adequately finance priority cancer and palliative care services as part of universal health coverage (UHC).

The global cancer burden is projected to surge by 77% to over 35 million new cases in 2050, stemming from population growth, aging, and changing risk factors associated with socioeconomic development. Tobacco, alcohol, and obesity play pivotal roles alongside persistent air pollution. High Human Development Index (HDI) countries anticipate the greatest absolute increase (4.8 million cases), while low HDI nations face a striking 142% rise and medium HDI countries a 99% increase in cancer incidence by 2050. Cancer mortality in low- and medium-HDI countries is expected to nearly double. Urgent global efforts are imperative to address this escalating crisis.

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