The first global study on breast cancer has revealed its prevalence is growing at an alarming rate. The research, which was funded by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, highlights the need for a greater emphasis on screening, treatment and education in poorer countries, International Business Times reports.
The study focused on data ranging back to 1980. Since then, researchers found that the number of new cases has risen from about 641,000 to 1.6 million in 2010. The study also suggests that medical professionals should change their focus from preventing deaths caused by childbirth to deaths caused by cervical and breast cancers.
“People may wonder what the urgency is in addressing these cancers, but the numbers are staggering," Jan Coeberg, a cancer specialist at Erasmus University Medical Center told the news source. "It's like six jumbo jets crashing every day."
According to the BBC, the numbers were especially alarming in women under 50 in low-income nations. Still, while the picture looks bleak in some parts of the world, other countries are faring a bit better. The United Kingdom, for instance, has seen a woman's chances from dying of breast cancer fall from 1 in 32 in 1980 to 1 in 60 in 2010.
Additionally, while breast cancer was on the rise, the increase in cervical cancer was cause for concern among researchers as well. Though they have been rising more slowly, experts say that many of the instances could have been avoided.
"Our concern is that this is a disease that is almost entirely preventable through safe sex practices and early detection, yet it continues to kill nearly a half a million women every year," Dr Rafael Lozano told the BBC.