World Cancer Day 2014 – Data on New Cancers and Deaths

IARC and the UN deem February 4 World Cancer Day. Therefore, some statistics on the rampant growth of cancer. As in the past, everyone is invited to "do something." The following are quotes from a press release related to IARC’s new World Cancer Report 2014 (available here).

To start, US data from the US Cancer Society:

Cancer rates for children have been climbing since the 1970s. "For 2014, the American Cancer Society estimates 15,780 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed and 1,960 deaths will occur among children and adolescents aged birth to 19 years. Approximately, 1 in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer before age 20 and about 1 in 530 young adults between the ages of 20 and 39 is a childhood cancer survivor."

"In 2014, there will be an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed and 585,720 cancer deaths in the US. Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the US, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths."

At the global level, per IARC:

"In 2012, the worldwide burden of cancer rose to an estimated 14 million new cases per year, a figure expected to rise to 22 million annually within the next two decades. Over the same period, cancer deaths are predicted to rise from an estimated 8.2 million annually to 13 million per year.

Globally, in 2012 the most common cancers diagnosed were those of the lung (1.8 million cases, 13.0% of the total), breast (1.7 million, 11.9%), and large bowel (1.4 million, 9.7%). 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%).

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However, the spiraling costs of the cancer burden are damaging the economies of even the richest countries and are way beyond the reach of developing countries, as well as placing impossible strains on health-care systems. In 2010, the total annual economic cost of cancer was estimated to reach approximately US$ 1.16 trillion. Yet about half of all cancers could be avoided if current knowledge was adequately implemented.

“The rise of cancer worldwide is a major obstacle to human development and well-being. 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,” stresses Dr Wild."

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Dr. Wild obviously is correct that the volume of cancer is a human disaster. It also could be a disaster for various insurers. Imagine if there were litigation over 1% of 14 million annual cancers? That would be 140,000 annual lawsuits. That would be 28X the current 5,000 mesothelioma claims per year (using 5,000 as a high side estimate of annual, global mesothelioma claims). The 140,000 number would be 35x if the global average is 4,000 mesotheliomas.

And then imagine what things could be like in twenty years, with 22 million annual cancers around the globe and 1% of those in litigation.

#Cancer

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About Kirk

Since becoming a lawyer in 1983, Kirk’s over 30 years of practice have focused on advising a wide range of corporations, associations, and individuals (as both plaintiffs and defendants) on both tort and commercial law issues centered around “mass torts.”

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