Wild recommendations

The World Cancer Report 2014, released this week by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer Research (IACR), highlights “an alarming rise” in the cancer burden worldwide, especially in developing countries.  The report estimates that global deaths from cancer will climb from 8.2 million in 2012 to 13 million in 2032, driven largely by adoption of western lifestyles and aging populations.

“Despite exciting advances, this report shows that we cannot treat our way out of the cancer problem,” said IACR director Christopher Wild. “More commitment to prevention and early detection is desperately needed.”

Among its efforts, the IACR helps countries develop programs (and often legislation) that encourage healthy eating and exercise, discourage smoking and excessive drinking, and broaden HPV vaccination efforts.

When I interviewed Dr. Wild last November, he also emphasized the agency’s current studies of breast cancer screening alternatives for countries that can’t afford mammography. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in most of the world, its incidence is climbing along with adoption of western lifestyles, and finding the best practical screening approaches could have a huge effect, Wild told me.