A New Tool for Global Cancer Leaders

Cancer Atlas research story

The global cancer burden has changed dramatically over time, with certain countries making significant strides in fighting the disease and others lagging far behind. This is according to the just-released book, The Cancer Atlas, Second Edition, and accompanying website produced by the American Cancer Society, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the Union for International Cancer Control.

More than 60 experts from six continents analyzed the most up-to-date cancer data available to assess global and regional cancer trends and gather national-level insights.

The collective conclusion of the authors and main message of the Cancer Atlas is that regardless of the specific cancer challenges a country is facing, there are proven actions leaders can take to better control cancer. Different countries and regions can prioritize the cancer-fighting strategies that are most applicable to them.

For example, countries that rank low on the Human Development Index (a measure of socioeconomic progress) – many are in sub-Saharan Africa – suffer from relatively high rates of cervical cancer. According to the Cancer Atlas, these countries could greatly benefit from widespread adoption of HPV vaccines, which protect against the human papillomavirus (HPV), a cause of cervical cancer.

Cancer Atlas Intro of HPV Vaccine

More developed countries, on the other hand, like the United States and Canada, have been able to bring down their cervical cancer rates through more Pap testing .

Such progress, though, doesn’t mean the U.S. and Canada – and other like nations – are done fighting cancer. For instance, certain parts of the U.S. lag behind others – lung cancer rates are higher “in Southern and Midwestern states, which have been historically dependent on tobacco farming and production,” the Cancer Atlas authors note.

These are just a few examples of the numerous action-oriented insights leaders can gain from the Cancer Atlas. The authors outline strategies in the areas of health promotion, tobacco control, vaccination, early detection, management and treatment, and pain control, among others.

“We at the Society believe this critical publication will be an essential and accessible resource for everyone involved in the cancer fight – from advocates and agencies to policymakers and patients, and everyone in between,” writes American Cancer Society Chief Executive Officer John R. Seffrin in his introduction to the Cancer Atlas. “Information is a powerful tool in the hands of passionate, dedicated individuals, and this book [and website] provides an unparalleled resource to arm and inform everyone committed to this fight.”

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