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The incidence of cancer worldwide is growing at an alarming pace. A new report by the World Health Organization finds that, as USA Today reports, new cancer cases will skyrocket globally from an estimated 14 million in 2012 to 22 million new cases a year within the next two decades, the report says. During that same period, cancer deaths are predicted to rise from an estimated 8.2 million annually to 13 million a year. The total annual cost globally of cancer was estimated to reach approximately $1.16 trillion in 2010, which is damaging the economies of even the richest countries and is way beyond the reach of developing countries.
The most common cancers diagnosed globally in 2012 were those of the lung (1.8 million cases, 13% of the total), breast (1.7 million, 11.9%), and large bowel (1.4 million, 9.7%), the group says. The most common causes of cancer death were cancers of the lung (1.6 million, 19.4% of the total), liver (0.8 million, 9.1%), and stomach (0.7 million, 8.8%).
“These new figures and projections send a strong signal that immediate action is needed to confront this human disaster, which touches every community worldwide, without exception.”
The report “actually puts onto paper what a lot of us have been saying for some time,” says Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. “The burden of cancer internationally has doubled over the last 20 years, and it will double over the next 20 years. These facts support that we need to be serious about cancer prevention activities.”
As a consequence of growing and aging populations, developing countries are disproportionately affected by the increasing numbers of cancers, the report says.
More than 60% of the world’s total cases occur in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, and these regions account for about 70% of the world’s cancer deaths, a situation that is made worse by the lack of early detection and access to treatment, it says.
The total annual cost globally of cancer was estimated to reach approximately $1.16 trillion in 2010, which is damaging the economies of even the richest countries and is way beyond the reach of developing countries, the report says.
We investigate the long-term effects of the 2011 tsunami, including a potential cancer threat for Fukushima’s children.
101 East Last updated: 10 Jan 2014 09:59
|On March 11, 2011, the ground trembled and the sea engulfed the coastal towns in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture. The earthquake and tsunami led to a nuclear disaster which became synonymous with the infamous Chernobyl and Three-Mile accidents.
Today, spacious luxury neighbourhoods have been dramatically transformed into decaying ghost towns, a scene from a post-apocalypse movie. And two years on, while the country struggles to rebuild itself, many say the crisis is far from over.
On a stretch of lonely beach in the heavily contaminated no-go zone surrounding the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, one man is on a lonely mission. His seven-year-old daughter is the only person unaccounted for after a five-storey tsunami crushed the nearby town of Okuma in March 2011. The authorities stopped looking for her long ago, but Norio Kimura has not and never will. It is unlikely he will find his little girl and yet he trudges on, looking for clues. Among the pieces he has found is a shoe he says belonged to his dead child.
In a private children’s hospital well away from the no-go zone, parents are holding on tight to their little sons and daughters, hoping doctors will not find what they are looking for – thyroid cancer.
Tests commissioned by the local authorities have discerned an alarming spike in the incidence of thyroid cancer in Fukushima children. Out of 200,000 children screened so far in government-ordered tests, there are 18 confirmed cases of thyroid cancer and 25 suspected cases. While specialists and experts are reluctant to draw a definitive link between the tumours and the nuclear radiation that erupted from the stricken power station, they are nonetheless deeply concerned.
Former thyroid surgeon, Akira Sugenoya says the spike in numbers should be taken seriously. He knows the devastation radiation can have after spending five years operating on hundreds of Chernobyl children suffering from thyroid cancer. But Professor Geraldine Thomas, a specialist in the molecular pathology of cancer in Imperial College London, says the fears are unfounded and have driven Japanese mothers to make unnecessary choices, including abortions.
It is not just the children who are a cause for concern. Farmer Kazuya Tarukawa worries that his crops have been contaminated and fears the radiation effects will be passed down the food chain. His crops may have passed the government’s radioactive safety limits but Tarukawa’s conscience is burning. He believes the government’s safety limits are inaccurate.
What are the long-term effects of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami? 101 East investigates the next wave of pain and fear after Japan’s nuclear crisis.
Spike in cancer detections and tainted crops. Is there a link to the #Fukushima nuclear disaster? @AJ101East #JapanNextWave
Over the past year, pictures of China’s unprecedented air pollution have been seen around the world (for a sample seehere and here), Chinese smog has been exported to Japan, and there is even a dedicated hourly twitter update looking at the quality, or lack thereof, of Beijing air. As such, it was only a matter of time before the tragic consequences of China’s unprecedented and unplanned scramble to industrialize started manifesting themselves. This happened overnight when an eight-year-old girl has become China’s youngest lung cancer patient, reports said, with doctors blaming pollution as the direct cause of her illness. The girl, whose name was not given, lives near a major road in the eastern province of Jiangsu, said Xinhuanet, the website of China’s official news agency.
Since this is just what is officially reported, one can only imagine just how bad the reality is behind the Ministry of Truth firewall, but at least China is finally starting to come clean on its pollution problem, in what one can only hope is an attempt to remedy it. However, if that means even slower growth and a less furious scramble to industrialize through the construction of ghost cities, this will likely mean even slower economic growth, even less of an inflation tolerance by the premier and the PBOC, and even more animosity toward Bernanke’s QE, which as we reported earlier is the main reason for today’s reddish tint in the equity futures.
AFP reports that according to a doctor at Jiangsu Cancer Hospital in Nanjing, the 8-year old girl had been exposed to harmful particles and dust over a long period of time.
Lung cancer cases among children are extremely rare, with the average age for diagnosis at about 70, according to the American Cancer Society.
But the incidence of the disease has skyrocketed in China as the country’s rapid development has brought with it deteriorating air quality, particularly in urban areas.
Lung cancer deaths in China have multiplied more than four times over the past 30 years, according to Beijing’s health ministry. Cancer is now the leading cause of death in the smog-ridden capital.
The report of the eight-year-old girl’s diagnosis comes after choking smog enveloped the northeastern city of Harbin two weeks ago, bringing flights and ground transport to a standstill and forcing schools to shut for several days, with visibility in some areas reduced to less than 50 metres.
At the height of the smog, the city’s levels of PM2.5 — the smallest, most dangerous type of airborne particle — reached 1,000 micrograms per cubic metre, 40 times the World Health Organization’s recommended standard.
High levels of PM2.5 have been linked to health problems including lung cancer and heart disease.
And now with China finally admitting it has a health hazard problem, one wonders how long until Japan does the same with the even greater environmental catastrophe that is Fukushima, or will Abe continue to hide the disastrous health consequences of the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl until his entire economic revitalization house of cards comes tumbling down and he is once again escorted out of the building in yet another epic case of diarrhea?
- 8-year-old Chinese girl contracts lung cancer, smog might be to blame (voiceofrussia.com)
- China: Smog blamed as girl, 8, becomes youngest lung cancer patient (crofsblogs.typepad.com)
- Girl, 8, is China’s youngest lung cancer case; doctors say pollution the cause (straitstimes.com)
- Chinese girl, eight, has lung cancer (skynews.com.au)
Outdoor air pollution is a leading cause of cancer in humans, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The IARC said on Thursday that a panel of top experts had found “sufficient evidence” that exposure to outdoor air pollution caused lung cancer and raised the risk of bladder cancer.
The predominant sources of outdoor air pollution were transport, power generation, emissions from factories and farms, and residential heating and cooking, the UN agency said.
The most recent data, from 2010, showed that 223,000 lung cancer deaths worldwide were the result of air pollution, the report said.
“Our task was to evaluate the air everyone breathes rather than focus on specific air pollutants,” said the IARC’s Dana Loomis.
“The results from the reviewed studies point in the same direction: the risk of developing lung cancer is significantly increased in people exposed to air pollution,” he added.
Although the composition of air pollution and levels of exposure can vary dramatically between locations, the agency said its conclusions applied to all regions of the globe.
It said pollution exposure levels increased significantly in some parts of the world in recent years, notably in rapidly industrialising nations with large populations.
The latest findings were based on overall air quality, and based on an in-depth study of thousands of medical research projects conducted around the world over decades.
Air pollution was already known to increase the risk of respiratory and heart diseases.
“Classifying outdoor air pollution as carcinogenic to humans is an important step,” said the IARC’s director Christopher Wild.
“There are effective ways to reduce air pollution and, given the scale of the exposure affecting people worldwide, this report should send a strong signal to the international community to take action without further delay.”
The data did not enable experts to establish whether particular groups of people were more or less vulnerable to cancer from pollution, but Kurt Straif of IARC said it was clear that risk rose in line with exposure.
Diesel exhaust and what is known as “particulate matter” – which includes soot – have been classified as carcinogenic by the IARC.
The IARC said that it was set to publish its in-depth conclusions on October 24 on the specialised website The Lancet Oncology.
- Air pollution causes cancer, WHO concludes (telegraph.co.uk)
- Outdoor air pollution is a cancer cause (skynews.com.au)
- Outdoor pollution is carcinogenic: WHO (thehindu.com)