July 12, 2024

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1 in 16 People Worldwide Will Die from Gastrointestinal Cancers!

1 in 16 People Worldwide Will Die from Gastrointestinal Cancers!



1 in 16 People Worldwide Will Die from Gastrointestinal Cancers!

Scientists Release the First Global Lifetime Risk Data for Gastrointestinal Cancers.

According to statistics, gastrointestinal cancers such as esophageal, gastric, liver, colorectal, pancreatic, and gallbladder cancers account for a quarter of all cancer cases worldwide and one-third of cancer-related deaths[1].

However, we still know very little about the lifetime risk (from birth to death) of developing gastrointestinal cancers for each individual. Currently, there is no comprehensive global study assessing the lifetime risk of developing or dying from gastrointestinal cancers.

Based on the 2020 GLOBOCAN data, researchers have, for the first time, systematically estimated the lifetime risk of gastrointestinal cancers in 185 countries globally.

Overall, in 2020, the probability of an individual developing gastrointestinal cancer from birth to death is 8.20% (meaning 1 in 12 people worldwide will develop gastrointestinal cancer), and the probability of dying from gastrointestinal cancer is 6.17% (meaning 1 in 16 people worldwide will die from gastrointestinal cancer).

1 in 16 People Worldwide Will Die from Gastrointestinal Cancers!

Screenshot from the paper’s cover

Due to changes in population structure, globalization-related shifts in dietary and lifestyle habits, and advancements in innovative cancer therapies, the incidence and mortality rates of major gastrointestinal cancer types have shown remarkable differences across regions and countries over the past thirty years.

After systematically reviewing all relevant research papers before 2023, researchers surprisingly found no studies systematically exploring the lifetime risk of gastrointestinal cancers. Over the past sixty years, the cumulative risk of developing or dying from gastrointestinal cancers in the 0-74 age group has been widely used as a surrogate measure to assess the lifetime risk of developing or dying from gastrointestinal cancers.

However, with technological advancements, by 2020, life expectancy in over 100 countries has exceeded 74 years. Therefore, in today’s era with relatively high life expectancy, the lifetime risk of gastrointestinal cancers may be significantly underestimated.

Hence, researchers believe it is necessary to use the latest comprehensive metrics to evaluate the global population’s lifetime risk of developing or dying from gastrointestinal cancers and the variations between countries. This will assist global healthcare systems in formulating long-term plans for the prevention and control of gastrointestinal cancers.

Based on the 2020 GLOBOCAN data, Chinese researchers have, for the first time, systematically estimated the global lifetime risk of gastrointestinal cancers in 185 countries. In 2020, the probability of an individual developing gastrointestinal cancer from birth to death is 8.20%, and the probability of dying from gastrointestinal cancer is 6.17%.

From the table above, it is evident that countries or regions with a relatively high Human Development Index (HDI) have a higher lifetime risk of developing gastrointestinal cancers (11.39%) and a higher lifetime risk of dying from gastrointestinal cancers (8.42%).

Compared to females, males have a higher lifetime risk of developing gastrointestinal cancers (9.53% vs. 6.84%) and a higher lifetime risk of dying from gastrointestinal cancers (7.23% vs. 5.09%).

Looking at specific cancer types, colorectal cancer has the highest lifetime risk, contributing 38.5% and 28.2% to the lifetime incidence and mortality rates of gastrointestinal cancers, respectively. Following this are gastric cancer, liver cancer, esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and gallbladder cancer.

Compared to other Human Development Index country groups, countries with an extremely high Human Development Index have a much higher lifetime risk of developing and dying from pancreatic cancer. In countries with a medium to low Human Development Index, liver cancer (0.63%) and esophageal cancer (0.61%) have the highest lifetime mortality risks.

From an age perspective globally, the risk of developing gastrointestinal cancers from birth to 40 years is very low. Regardless of gender, the cumulative incidence risk from birth to death is similar to the cumulative incidence risk from 40 years to death (8.08%). The risk of developing gastrointestinal cancers also shows a similar pattern. Additionally, as age increases, the risk of developing gastrointestinal cancers decreases, with the risk of developing gastrointestinal cancers after the age of 70 being 4.77%, and the risk of death being 3.91%.

Looking at different regions, there are significant differences in the lifetime incidence risk of different types of gastrointestinal cancers.

In East Asia, the risk of a lifetime incidence (15.08%) and death (11.75%) from gastrointestinal cancers is the highest, while West Africa has the lowest risk (incidence: 1.88%; death: 1.71%). At the national level, the Japanese population (23.48%) has the highest risk of developing gastrointestinal cancers, and Mongolia (16.62%) has the highest risk of dying from gastrointestinal cancers.

Specifically, in terms of individual cancer types, populations in East Asia have the highest lifetime risks of developing gastric, liver, esophageal, and gallbladder cancers. Australians, New Zealanders, and Southern Europeans have the highest lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer, while Western Europeans have the highest lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

In summary, this research, initiated by Chinese scientists, systematically estimates the global population’s lifetime incidence and mortality risks of gastrointestinal cancers for the first time. The detailed stratification based on regions, gender, age, etc., holds significant importance in guiding the prevention and control of gastrointestinal cancers.

This study also found that, compared to countries with a lower Human Development Index, countries with an extremely high Human Development Index have a 4.4 times higher risk of developing gastrointestinal cancers and a 3.2 times higher risk of dying from gastrointestinal cancers. The relatively small gap in the lifetime mortality risk of gastrointestinal cancers between countries with extremely high and very low Human Development Indexes underscores the importance of accessibility and affordability in healthcare, as well as the crucial role played by national health policies.

Furthermore, in this study, the ratio of lifetime mortality risk to incidence risk for esophageal, liver, and pancreatic cancers is extremely high, approximately 0.95, while for gastric and gallbladder cancers, the ratio is about 0.75, and for colorectal cancer, it is about 0.55. These numbers once again highlight the challenge: most gastrointestinal cancers, including esophageal, pancreatic, gastric, liver, and gallbladder cancers, are difficult to detect in the early stages, and there is insufficient curative treatment.

Therefore, researchers believe that developing effective prevention and control strategies is crucial to alleviate the burden of gastrointestinal cancers. This includes reducing exposure to common risk factors, devising targeted gastrointestinal cancer screening plans for high-risk populations, improving the accessibility, affordability, and effectiveness of cancer treatment, and utilizing technology to enhance cancer prevention and control.

1 in 16 People Worldwide Will Die from Gastrointestinal Cancers!


(source:internet, reference only)

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