Experts Say Improved Therapy Cutting Cancer Deaths
LONDON (Reuters) - Prostate and breast cancer will be the most common cancers in developed countries in the next two decades, experts predicted on Monday.
But they said improved therapies would cut death rates from all types of the disease.
A decrease in smoking and preventive drugs will help cut the rate of lung cancer, the current number one cancer killer in many industrialized countries, they told a medical conference.
Improved imaging techniques and screening programs will also mean quicker diagnosis.
``We believe that over the next 20 years, developed countries like the UK will, through a reduction in smoking rates, improvements in diet and advances in treatment, start to get on top of the cancer problem,'' said Professor Gordon McVie, director general of the Cancer Research Campaign (CRC), one of Britain's top medical charities.
McVie and his colleagues analyzed data on current cancer rates and projections for the success of future treatments to predict the prevalence of cancer in 2020.
Breast and prostate cancers will become even more common because of the aging population. The incidence of both illnesses increases as people grow older.
Screening programs and a preventive vaccine against the human papilloma virus, which is linked to the disease, will also mean fewer cases of cervical cancer.
The CRC experts expect lung cancer rates in rich countries to drop by 50 percent by 2020 thanks to educational campaigns about the dangers of tobacco and more people quitting the habit.
McVie advised developing nations to avoid the pitfalls their richer neighbors have experienced.
``The challenge for the developing world is to make sure it does not make the same mistakes that we have, by becoming ensnared in a cancer-causing lifestyle of fags (cigarettes), booze and junk food,'' he told a global conference of cancer organizations in Brighton, southern England.
Lung cancer is and will remain the top cancer killer in the developing world. Breast and esophagus cancers will also continue to affect many but vaccinations against hepatitis viruses should reduce the number of liver cancers.
New research announced last week showed up to 30 percent of all cancers in the developed world are associated with nutritional factors and could be avoided by better-balanced diets.
The early results of the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study on diet and cancer found a decreased chance of developing colon cancer in people eating lots of fish, but a raised risk in those consuming large amounts of preserved meats such as ham, bacon and salami.
People are advised to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, not to smoke and to drink only moderate amounts of alcohol to achieve optimum health and avoid cancer.
Leading cancer experts from around the world are attending the four-day meeting sponsored by the CRC, the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the International Union Against Cancer.