The United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO) is projecting a 77 percent increase in cancer cases worldwide by 2050, with 4.8 million additional cases in Western nations comprising “the greatest absolute increase in incidence” compared to 2022.
“Over 35 million new cancer cases are predicted in 2050”, the UN agency said. “The rapidly-growing global cancer burden reflects both population aging and growth, as well as changes to people’s exposure to risk factors, several of which are associated with socioeconomic development.”
Despite the West being projected to see the largest increase in cases, the WHO stressed that poorer countries will see a greater proportional increase, with their “cancer mortality… projected to almost double in 2050.”
“Tobacco, alcohol and obesity are key factors behind the increasing incidence of cancer, with air pollution still a key driver of environmental risk factors,” the agency suggested.
Exposure to pervasive per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other “forever chemicals” in everyday household items such as cookware, cosmetics, furniture, and packaging have increased the risk of multiple cancers, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study.
COVID masks have also been linked to carcinogenic chemicals by South Korean researchers, while delays to cancer diagnoses and treatments during the COVID pandemic have created an ongoing cancer “timebomb.”