Cancer will surpass heart disease as the world’s preeminent killer by 2010, Reuters reports. A WHO study concluded that cancer cases will double between 2000 and 2020, and almost triple by 2030, largely because of increased tobacco use in developing countries. In men, who are more likely to contract the disease, lung cancer is most prevalent; in women, breast cancer is the most common form.
Increased life expectancy worldwide also will contribute to cancer’s ascendance because older people are more susceptible. Researchers hold out hope: Cancer rates are falling in the West and many causes of the disease, such as smoking, drinking, and obesity can be avoided. Still, “there are more deaths in the world from cancer than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined,” a UN official said.