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Breast cancer beats lung cancer to first place as most common variant worldwide – WHO

Breast cancer beats lung cancer to first place as most common variant worldwide – WHO
Breast cancer has overtaken lung cancer as the most widespread variant of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. The latter remained in first place for around two decades.

The revelation was made by WHO officials during a UN briefing on Tuesday, coming ahead of World Cancer Day. The awareness day, aimed at encouragement and prevention of the disease, is marked annually on February 4.

“For the first time, breast cancer now constitutes the most commonly occurring cancer globally,” a cancer specialist with the WHO, Andre Ilbawi, said as quoted by Reuters.

Lung cancer remained the most common variant of the disease for the past two decades, Ilbawi stated, and now has fallen to second place. The third most commonly occurring variant around the world is colorectal cancer.

The expert noted that obesity among women remains the most common risk factor which has greatly contributed to the rise in breast cancer numbers. Assorted variants of cancer are expected to become more common in the decades to come as the world’s population continues to grow and life expectancy increases. While in 2020 some 19.3 million cases were registered, the figure is expected to grow by a third to about 30 million in 2040.

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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has greatly affected cancer prevention and treatment, with medical resources getting overstretched due to Covid-19, the official explained. The pandemic has disrupted cancer treatment in about a half of the countries WHO surveyed, with diagnosis delayed, research stagnating and health workers getting burnt-out in the fight against coronavirus.

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