Cancer: most common types in South America and the Caribbean

Sunday, February 4, marks World Cancer Day, one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean. According to a report published in 2022 by The Lancet, prostate cancer is positioned as the most common cancer in South America and the Caribbean, accounting for 14.6% of total diagnoses in the region in 2020. Breast cancer also occupies a significant place, accounting for 14.3%. diagnoses. In third place is colorectal cancer with 9.2% of diagnosed cases. Similarly, lung, stomach and thyroid cancers rank high on the list with 6.6%, 4.6% and 4.3% respectively.

For men and women, estimates for this year show there were nearly 1.5 million new cancer cases and 700,000 deaths annually in the region.

In terms of mortality, lung cancer remained the leading cause of cancer deaths among both sexes combined (12%), although rates varied significantly between countries. Among men, prostate cancer was the most commonly diagnosed type in all countries and the leading type of cancer mortality in 21 countries. In turn, breast cancer was most common in women in all countries except Bolivia.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos among more than 23,000 adults from 31 countries between July and August 2023, identified the top health concerns according to respondents’ views of their countries of residence. Cancer is the second most important health problem, with 34% of respondents citing it as a major concern.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer “can be prevented and controlled through the implementation of evidence-based strategies for cancer prevention, screening and early detection, treatment and palliative care.” WHO emphasizes that “the most common modifiable risk factors for cancer, common to many other non-communicable diseases, are tobacco and alcohol use, low fruit and vegetable intake and insufficient physical activity.”

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