Cancer by Numbers

Everyone knows cancer is a big killer but how many lives does it douse?

World Statistics

It is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, Globally, the number of deaths from cancer increased from 7.6 million in 2008 to 8.2 million in 2012 and is projected to hit 11.5 million in 2025. Meanwhile, new cases worldwide went up from 12.7 million in 2008 to 14.1 million in 2012. It is expected to rise to 19.3 million in 2025.

According to the World Health Organization, men are mostly afflicted with cancer in their lungs, prostate, colorectum, stomach and liver, and women commonly face cancerous growths or cells in their breasts, colorectal, lungs, cervix and stomach.

Lung cancers claim the most lives at 1.59 million, with liver cancer a far second with 745,000 deaths. Those who die from stomach cancer number about 723,000 and for colorectal cancer, about 694,000. Breast cancer kills 521,000 people while oesophageal cancer takes 400,000 lives.

One in three cancer deaths is usually a result of these behavioural and dietary risks: High body mass index (BMI), little exercise, smoking, lack of fruit and vegetables and alcohol consumption. Tobacco use, in particular, leads to about one in five global cancer deaths and about 70 per cent of lung cancer deaths worldwide.

Over 60 per cent of the world’s new cases every year take place in Africa, Asia and Central and South America – 70 per cent of global cancer deaths are from these areas.

In the United Arab Emirates<

A report by the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi showed that since 2012, cancer has been the second leading cause of deaths in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It is the No. 2 cause of death among nationals and No. 3 among expatriates. In total, the disease accounts for 15 per cent of deaths.

In 2012, 1,212 new cases were reported. Nationals accounted for 28 per cent and the remainder affected expatriates. Fifty-three per cent of cancer patients are women, and 47 per cent are men.

Common cancers in Abu Dhabi are breast cancer (20 per cent), blood cancer (18 per cent), colorectal (9 per cent), lymph nodes (7 per cent), thyroid (5 per cent) and others make up 41 per cent of cases.

Cancer killed around 407 people in Abu Dhabi in 2012; out of these, 34 per cent were nationals. Women accounted for about 47 per cent of these cancer deaths.

In the same year, breast cancer caused 13.3 per cent of cancer deaths in Abu Dhabi, while lung cancer came in second at 11.8 per cent. Blood cancer is next at 10.3 per cent, followed by colorectal cancer (9.8 per cent), liver (8.6 per cent) and others (46.2 per cent).

An article by Abu Dhabi’s English-language newspaper The National in 2014 quoted Dubai consultant breast surgeon Houriya Kazim as saying that there is a growing number of women under 40 reporting an incidence of breast cancer in the UAE. It said this was a dangerous trend as breast cancer in younger women are far more aggressive than in older women.

It attributed a 2010 study by the center for Arab Genomic Studies for the conclusion that Arab women are more predisposed to encounter breast cancer at a younger age. It added that Qatar’s Weill Cornell Medical College also backed this conclusion with its own research – it found cancer appearing in Arab women about 10 years earlier than in European women.

This life-threatening disease is claiming more and more lives by the year, but many are preventable deaths. Find out more by joining in the World Cancer Day movement and taking part in the fight against cancer.