International Trends in Cancer

#B143 International Trends of Cancer: A Descriptive and Comparative Study.

Ann M. Flores, Nasar U. Ahmed,

Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN.

Purpose: The purpose of this research is to examine worldwide disparities of cancer prevalence. We contrast developed and lesser-developed countries in terms of cancer prevalence and make comparisons by sex.

We describe international patterns and make recommendations for future research.

Theoretical Framework: Sociodemographic factors associated with cancer, such as lifestyle, gender, ethnicity and culture, play major roles in cancer prevention and control.

Previous research shows that cancer disparities exist between affluent and impoverished countries and we expect to find a pattern consistent with a deepening of the wealth/poverty cleavage.

Research also shows that general health and well-being are poor during times of national, political and economic instability; international health programs and systems are sufficiently disrupted to prevent basic cancer screening, detection and treatment, adding another dimension to health disparity.

Data and Methods: Using GLOBOCAN 2000 and United Nations Human Development Reports we explore correlates of cancer prevalence, sociodemographics (age, sex), and national levels of economic development. All comparative cancer data are age-adjusted.

Results: Descriptive analyses comparing men and women in developed and lesser-developed countries show similar incidences of nearly all cancers except those attributed to affluent society in developed countries.

Overall, developed countries have cancer prevalence rates nearly twice that of lesser-developed countries. Women: Women in lesser-developed countries have, in order, high prevalence rates of breast, cervical, stomach, lung cancer colorectal, and esophagus.

The top three cancers (prevalence) for women in lesser-developed countries are breast, cervical, and stomach cancers whereas for developed countries they are breast, colorectal, and lung cancers. For women, breast and colorectal cancers are nearly three times higher in developed countries than lesser-developed countries.

In contrast, cervical cancer is nearly two times higher for women in lesser-developed countries. More alarming is the comparison for esophageal cancer; women in lesser-developed countries experience rates almost 5 times that of developed countries.

Men: Similar to the case of women, men in developed countries experience cancer prevalence rates almost twice that of lesser-developed countries.

The top three cancers for men in developed countries are lung, prostate and colorectal cancers. In lesser-developed countries, the top three cancers for men are lung, stomach and liver cancers.

Esophageal and liver cancers for men in lesser-developed countries are double the rates found in developed countries. Lung cancer for men in developed countries is twice that of lesser-developed countries. Further, men in developed countries experience prostate cancer rates 6 times higher than lesser-developed countries.

Conclusions: Persistent global patterns of cancer disparities support existing literature that points to the association between affluence, education, lifestyle and cancer.

Lesser-developed countries offer great lessons in the areas of traditional culture and lifestyle that contribute to the prevention of cancer.

Detrimental effects of modernity, affluence, and their associated lifestyles and sociodemographics must also be examined in depth for their contribution to disproportionate rates of cancer worldwide.

Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, 2003 AACR

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