Global Health

Advancing the Global Fight Against Cancer

Cancer causes 1 in 8 deaths worldwide and is rapidly becoming a global pandemic. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, there were 12.7 million new cancer cases in 2008. If rates don’t change, the global cancer burden is expected to nearly double to 21.4 million cases and 13.5 million deaths by 2030.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the toll of cancer and other chronic diseases is greater in low- and middle-income countries where people develop chronic diseases “at younger ages, suffer longer – often with preventable complications – and die sooner than those in high-income countries.” The economic toll is equally alarming; in 2008, cancer accounted for nearly $1 trillion in economic losses from premature death and disability.       

Projected Number of Cancer Deaths Worldwide 2008 2030            

Key factors in these rising rates are the lack of access to information, prevention, early detection, and treatment in developing countries, as well as inadequate medical and public health infrastructure. As a result, cancers are often diagnosed at a late stage, and people suffer needlessly from inadequate palliative care.

Although our understanding of cancer is unprecedented, cancer continues to be a leading cause of death in the world.  A comprehensive response that promotes prevention, early detection, treatment, and pain control is critical to saving lives and alleviating needless suffering that will expedite the control of cancer early in this century.

Our Global Vision

As a leader in cancer control since 1913, the American Cancer Society is committed to saving lives from cancer and reducing the global threat of the disease. We combine our relentless passion with the wisdom of experience to make this vision a reality by focusing on countries with the most need and where measurable results can be achieved. We know that cancer is one of the most preventable — and the most curable — of major chronic, life-threatening diseases. We recognize tobacco as the single most preventable cause of death. We’re working to reduce the incidence of tobacco-related cancers in low- and middle-income countries with a special emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa. In collaboration with a worldwide network of partnerships, we are urging governments and international organizations to recognize that cancer is a global priority requiring an urgent response.

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