Cancer Patients
Researchers claim that smoking is the single most preventable cause of cancer each year in the UK. Pixabay

The number of deaths from cancer in the UK is expected to increase by over 50 per cent in the next 26 years, a new study has claimed.

The study has been conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The findings have been released ahead of World Cancer Day.

The study has attributed the rise to a growing and ageing population. The authors analysed data from as many as 115 countries and found that such cases are expected to rise by 53 per cent by 2050.

Cancer remains one of the most formidable health challenges worldwide, and finding more effective and less toxic treatments has been a long-standing pursuit.

The UK reported 454,954 new cases of cancer in 2022, while 181,807 people died of the deadly disease in the same year. The study further stated that globally, cancer cases could see a 77 per cent increase by 2050.

"The impact of this increase will not be felt evenly across countries of different HDI [Human Development Index] levels. Those who have the fewest resources to manage their cancer burdens will bear the brunt of the global cancer burden," said Dr. Freddie Bray, head of the cancer surveillance branch at the IARC.

Globally in 2022, lung cancer was the most commonly occurring cancer with 12.4 per cent of the total new cases, female breast cancer ranked second (11.6 per cent ), followed by colorectal cancer (9.6 per cent), prostate cancer (7.3 per cent), and stomach cancer (4.9 per cent), according to estimates available on IARC's Global Cancer Observatory.

The big picture:

Various forms of cancer continue to claim millions of lives globally every year. It is the second leading cause of death globally, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018.

Between 2016 and 2018 in the UK, more than half of new cases of cancer were breast, prostate, lung or bowel cancer. Every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer, says the data provided by Cancer Research UK.

However, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer, with around 47,000 people being diagnosed with the disease each year in England alone. Every year, around 56,000 women are diagnosed with the disease in the UK—around 150 women a day. Some 400 men in the UK are also diagnosed with breast cancer each year.

According to the US National Brain Tumor Society, every year 10,000 or more people die of glioblastomas, a lethal type of brain tumour. Seven per cent of these people are only able to live for five years or more after they have been diagnosed with the disease.

Although the brain cancer survival rate has doubled in the last 50 years, only 11.2 per cent of brain cancer patients live for more than 10 years. Only 9.5 per cent of lung cancer patients survive for more than 10 years in the UK and the cancer survival rate hasn't improved much in the last 50 years.

According to a study by a team from the University of Edinburgh and the Zhejiang University School of Medicine in China, cancer cases among young people have increased by 79 per cent the world over.

The scientists analysed data from the Global Burden of Disease 2019 Study and attributed the increase to obesity and alcohol consumption. Diets high in meat, smoking, low physical activity, and high blood sugar have also been responsible for the increase in cancer cases.

Last year, an analysis by Cancer Research UK for the Guardian revealed that lung cancer cases in women are projected to exceed those in men in the United Kingdom.

The latest figures reveal that lung cancer rates among women have been steadily rising over the past few decades, while the numbers for men have plateaued or even declined in some instances. The projected trajectory indicates that by 2025, more women will be diagnosed with lung cancer than men in the UK.

Several studies over the years have claimed that smoking is the single most preventable cause of cancer each year in the UK.