Heart Disease, Cancer, Leading Causes of Death due to Noncommunicable Diseases, Global Study Finds

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We simply cannot ignore these statistics, the lives they represent, and the many challenges that oncologists and their patients face every day.
— Bruce E. Johnson, MD, FASCO ASCO President

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The Global Burden of Disease Study, published in The Lancet, finds that of noncommunicable diseases, cancer is the second-leading cause of death globally.1 The report also finds that deaths from cancer increased more than 17% between 2006 and 2016. The Global Burden of Disease Study is a comprehensive worldwide epidemiologic study that describes mortality and morbidity from major diseases, injuries, and risk factors to health at global, national, and regional levels. The following is a statement on the report from ASCO's President, Bruce E. Johnson, MD, FASCO.

“Today’s Global Burden of Disease report in The Lancet underscores that cancer is one of the greatest threats to public health in the world. We simply cannot ignore these statistics, the lives they represent, and the many challenges that oncologists and their patients face every day. These challenges are particularly acute and tragic in countries of limited resources, where cancer cases and cancer deaths are rapidly increasing.

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“For many of our members who practice outside the United States, representing more than one-third of all ASCO members, barriers to delivering quality cancer care can be an unfortunate reality. The same is true for many of our members in the United States as well. What unites cancer care providers, regardless of geographic location, is the desire to overcome these barriers, to discover new approaches and solutions, and to share our ideas and knowledge for the benefit of all our patients.

“We recognize the global complexities of cancer care delivery and the many challenges to addressing the global cancer burden delineated in the Global Burden of Disease Study report. But we also embrace the opportunity for global communities, like the ASCO community of oncologists around the world, to work together to address these challenges.

“Today, ASCO is implementing a robust portfolio of programs that strengthen the oncology workforce to meet the challenges ahead and ultimately support the kind of care that each patient with cancer needs and deserves.”


1. Global Burden of Disease Collaborators, and others: Measuring progress and projecting attainment on the basis of past trends of the health-related sustainable development goals in 188 countries: An analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. Lancet. September 14, 2017 (early release online).




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