Global cancer cases will jump 77% by 2050, WHO report estimates

Feb 2, 2024, 7:30 PM

WHO predicts rise in global cancer cases...

New data from WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer predicts big increases in global cancer cases by 2050. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

(Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally Published: 02 FEB 24 18:17 ET

(CNN) — Global cancer diagnoses will reach 35 million in 2050, according to new estimates from the World Health Organization – an increase of 77% from the 20 million cases diagnosed in 2022.

The data, released Friday by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, covers 185 countries and 36 forms of the disease. The researchers found that lung cancer was the most common form around the world in 2022 – responsible for 2.5 million cases, 12.4% of the total – followed by female breast, colorectal, prostate and stomach cancers. Lung cancer was also responsible for the most cancer deaths: 1.8 million, or almost 19% of the total.

The agency also cites inequities in the cancer burden across developed nations. For example, in countries with a very high Human Development Index – a measure of achievements in health, education and standard of living – 1 in 12 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 1 in 71 will die of it. In low-HDI countries, only 1 in 27 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, but 1 in 48 will die of it, largely due to late diagnosis and a lack of access to treatments.

Inequities were also seen in cancer services such as radiation and stem cell transplants.

“WHO’s new global survey sheds light on major inequalities and lack of financial protection for cancer around the world, with populations, especially in lower income countries, unable to access the basics of cancer care,” Dr. Bente Mikkelsen, director of WHO’s Department of Noncommunicable Diseases, said in a news release. “WHO, including through its cancer initiatives, is working intensively with more than 75 governments to develop, finance and implement policies to promote cancer care for all. To expand on this work, major investments are urgently needed to address global inequities in cancer outcomes.”

The researchers point to several factors as driving the expected increases in cancer rates, such as obesity, tobacco use and alcohol use, as well as environmental factors like air pollution.

In the United States, the number of people dying from cancer continues to decline while incidence rates of certain forms of the disease increase, according to a report released last month by the American Cancer Society.

From 1991 to 2021, cancer deaths in the US fell 33%, largely due to drops in tobacco use, earlier detection and major improvements in treatments. However, racial disparities persist, with people of color facing higher risks.

Cancer patients are also becoming younger, the American Cancer Society report noted. The share of colorectal cancer diagnoses in adults under 55, for example, rose from 11% in 1995 to 20% in 2019, previous research has found.

President Joe Biden has made the cancer fight a significant part of his administration, with his Cancer Moonshot effort aimed at slashing US cancer deaths in half in 25 years. Agencies including NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency have been engaged to join the effort alongside the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Despite the progress that has been made in the early detection of cancers and the treatment and care of cancer patients – significant disparities in cancer treatment outcomes exist not only between high and low income regions of the world, but also within countries. Where someone lives should not determine whether they live. Tools exist to enable governments to prioritise cancer care, and to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, quality services. This is not just a resource issue but a matter of political will,” Dr. Cary Adams, head of the Union for International Cancer Control, said in Friday’s news release from the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

CNN’s Jacqueline Howard contributed to this report.

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


The Foundation’s 38-foot RV, customized with two private exam rooms, will travel around the count...


Free skin cancer screening program visits Park City

Local dermatologists will provide free full-body skin cancer screenings in Park City in an RV meant just to check patients.

8 hours ago

Johnson & Johnson brand baby powder, one of several products at the center of lawsuits against the ...

Kyle Remund

State of Utah reaches settlement with Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson will be giving Utah and many other states a massive payout due to deceptive marketing practices for talc-based products.

3 days ago


Heather Peterson

Program connects those who struggle with mental health to employers

SALT LAKE CITY — A sector of Utah’s Department of Health and Human Services is connecting those who struggle with mental illnesses with employers, to aid in their recovery. With Individual Placement and Support (IPS) offices across the state, they help those who have suffered from mental health crises or a co-occurring substance use disorder, […]

4 days ago

Orem resident Georgia Burt Presnell celebrated her 105th birthday on Friday. (Emma Everett Johnson)...

Emma Everett Johnson,

Orem resident turns 105, has some advice for young people

"I don't feel 105, but I look it," she joked, addressing a crowd of family and friends who were there to celebrate her.

8 days ago

Adam Benicosa next to his mail truck...

Jessica Lowell

Mailman considered a hero after helping a woman who fell

A Roy mailman is being considered a mailman hero after helping a woman who fell while attempting to pull a weed in her yard.

8 days ago

Twenty-three-year-old Brigham Young University student Jack Walker, has been active his entire life...

Britt Johnson

“Diving intervention”: BYU student survives, recovers after suffering heart attack at marathon

A 23-year-old BYU student suffered a heart attack this weekend at the Utah Valley Marathon. He called his survival "divine intervention"

9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Global cancer cases will jump 77% by 2050, WHO report estimates