Cancer may supplant heart disease as the number one cause of death worldwide in 2010. There is a growing cancer burden in poor countries as a result of increased cigarette smoking and other factors.
Globally, about 12.4 million people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year, and 7.6 million people will die. The global cancer burden doubled in the last 30 years of the 20th century, and it will likely double again between 2000 and 2020 and nearly triple by 2030.
By 2030, 26.4 million people a year may be diagnosed with cancer, with 17 million people dying from it. In men, lung cancer leads new cases and deaths, while among women, breast cancer leads new cases and deaths.
Although decades ago, cancer was considered largely a problem of Westernized, rich, industrialized countries, today much of the global burden now rests in poor and medium-income countries.