Most prior studies have reported cancer mortality trends across countries for specific cancer types. Herein, we examine recent patterns and trends in cancer mortality rates for the eight common forms of cancer in 47 countries across five continents (except Africa) based on the World Health Organization mortality database.
Rates were age-standardized to the 1966 Segi-Doll world population, and trends in the age-standardized rates for the most recent 10 years of data were examined using Joinpoint regression.
Cancer-specific mortality rates vary substantially across countries, with rates of infection-related (cervix and stomach) and tobacco-related cancers (lung and esophagus) varying by 10-fold. Recent mortality rates for all major cancers decreased in most of the studied countries except lung cancer in females and liver cancer in males, where increasing rates were observed in most countries. Rates decreased or stabilized in all countries for lung cancer in men and stomach cancer in both sexes.
The findings reinforce the importance of implementing and strengthening resource-stratified and targeted cancer prevention and control programs in all parts of the world to further reduce or halt the rising cancer burden.
The results may inform cancer prevention and treatment strategies and in so doing, reduce the marked global cancer disparities observed today.