This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Cancer on the Rise According to WHO

The World Health Organization has just released its 2014 World Cancer Report and the assessment seems to be something akin to a pox on your house. The report is not free, so I am relying upon a story in The Guardian, which notes that the report projects a 70 percent rise in cancer cases over the next two decades. Some of that will be due to the aging of populations in richer countries, but most of it will be found in the rest of the world.
The biggest burden will be in low- and middle-income countries. They are hit by two types of cancers – those triggered by infections, such as cervical cancers, which are still very prevalent in poorer countries that don't have screening, let alone the HPV vaccine, and increasingly cancers associated with more affluent lifestyles "with increasing use of tobacco, consumption of alcohol and highly processed foods and lack of physical activity", writes the World Health Organisation director general, Margaret Chan, in an introduction to the report.
Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed among men (16.7% of cases) and the biggest killer (23.6% of deaths). Breast cancer is the most common diagnosis in women (25.2%) and caused 14.7% of deaths, which is a drop and only just exceeds lung cancer deaths in women (13.8%). Bowel, prostate and stomach cancer are the other most common diagnoses.
Given the contribution of smoking to the expected increase in cancer cases, it is noteworthy that The Guardian also reports that CVS, one of the largest retail drug stores in the US, will stop selling cigarettes.
"Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," said Larry J Merlo, CVS Caremark president and CEO, said in a statement. "Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose."
CVS said it will also undertake a nationwide smoking cessation program set to be launched in the spring.
All I can say in response to that is "Wow"--good for them!

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