Cancer remains a major killer, with 10 million deaths reported worldwide in 2019.
More than 23 million new cases were documented globally in 2019, according to researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
By comparison, in 2010 there were 8.29 million cancer deaths worldwide and fewer than 19 million new cases. Deaths were nearly 21% higher in 2019 than 2010, and cases were about 26% higher, the researchers say.
The study also highlighted the global disparities in treating the disease.
"Ensuring that global progress against cancer burden is equitable is crucial," said lead author Dr. Jonathan Kocarnik, a research scientist at the university's Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation.
"This will require efforts to reduce disparities in cancer prevention, treatment and survival, and the incorporation of local needs and knowledge into tailored national cancer control plans," Kocarnik said in a university news release.
The researchers looked at 204 countries and territories, estimating cancer burden and trends.
They found that cancer was second to cardiovascular disease in the number of deaths among 22 groups of diseases and injuries.
Lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer deaths in 119 countries and territories for males and 27 countries and territories for females. Breast cancer was the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among females worldwide, including for 119 countries.
Also, lung cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer and liver cancer accounted for the most years lived with ill health and disability, according to the study.
There was a glimmer of good news: After adjusting for age, the researchers found death and incidence rates decreased by about 6% and around 1%, respectively.
The age-standardized death rate decreased in 131 countries and territories, and the incidence rate fell in 75 countries and territories.
Researchers called these small declines promising but cautioned there may be setbacks in cancer care and outcomes due to COVID-19. The effects of the pandemic on cancer sickness, deaths and prevention and control efforts were not accounted for in this study.
The reduction in rates appear to be driven by countries with higher socio-demographics.
The report was published Dec. 30 in JAMA Oncology. It is part of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2019.
The American Cancer Society has more on types of and treatments for cancer.
SOURCE: University of Washington School of Medicine, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, news release, Dec. 30, 2021