(HealthDay News) — Female breast cancer surpassed lung cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2020, according to a report published online Feb. 4 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Hyuna Sung, Ph.D., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues provide an update on the global cancer burden using GLOBOCAN 2020 estimates of cancer incidence and mortality.

The researchers found that in 2020, worldwide, an estimated 19.3 new cancer cases and almost 10.0 million cancer deaths occurred (18.1 and 9.9 million excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer, respectively). With an estimated 2.3 million new cases, female breast cancer surpassed lung cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer (11.7 percent), followed by lung, colorectal, prostate, and stomach cancers (11.4, 10.0, 7.3, and 5.6 percent, respectively). With an estimated 1.8 million deaths, lung cancer remained the leading cause of cancer death (18 percent), followed by colorectal, liver, stomach, and female breast cancers (9.4, 8.3, 7.7, and 6.9 percent, respectively). For both sexes, in countries higher on the Human Development Index (HDI) versus lower HDI countries, overall incidence was twofold to threefold higher, while the variation in mortality was less than twofold for men and little for women. In 2040, the global cancer burden is expected to be 28.4 million cases, representing a 47 percent increase from 2020, with a larger increase expected in lower HDI countries versus those higher on the HDI.

“Efforts to promote early detection, followed by timely and appropriate treatment, are urgently needed through the implementation of evidence-based and resource-stratified guidelines,” Sung said in a statement.

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Global Cancer Statistics 2020