170 Million Years of Healthy Life Lost to Cancer in Single Year

Posted on Nov. 15, 2012, 6 a.m. in Demographics Cancer

In a first-ever study to estimate the global impact of cancer on the number of healthy years of life, a team led by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (France) utilized data from cancer registries, for incidence, mortality, life expectancy, disease duration, and age at onset and death, along with populations of cancer survivors, to calculate years of life lost (YLLs) and years lived with disability (YLDs). The researchers used YLLs and YLDs to derive disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for 27 sites of cancers in 184 countries in 12 world regions.  In 2008, cancer contributed to 7.6 million deaths; but the ananlsis showed that Asia and Europe accounted for 73% of the overall burden of DALYs lost because of cancer, China accounted for 25% of DALYs lost, and India for 11%.  Men in Eastern Europe had the highest cancer burden worldwide (3,146 DALYs lost per 100,000 men), sub-Saharan African women had the highest female burden (2,749 DALYs lost per 100,000 women). All totaled, the researchers report that: “Worldwide, an estimated 169•3 million years of healthy life were lost because of cancer in 2008. Colorectal, lung, breast, and prostate cancers were the main contributors to total DALYs in most world regions and caused 18—50% of the total cancer burden.”

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Isabelle Soerjomataram, Joannie Lortet-Tieulent, D Maxwell Parkin, Jacques Ferlay, Colin Mathers, David Forman, Freddie Bray. “Global burden of cancer in 2008: a systematic analysis of disability-adjusted life-years in 12 world regions.”  The Lancet, 16 October 2012

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