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Latin America Faces Cancer Epidemic due to Stronger Economies, More Sedentary Lifestyles and Poor Eating Habit

Update Date: Apr 27, 2013 02:17 PM EDT

Researchers expressed concern over the escalating cancer epidemic in Latin America , where an increasingly urban populace faces mounting lifestyle-related cancer risks, doctors said at the Latin American Cooperative Oncology Group (LACOG) 2013 conference.

Referring to a study published in the British journal The Lancet Oncology, there are around 13 deaths for every 22 cancer cases in the region, compared to around 13 deaths for every 37 cases in the United States and around 13 deaths for every 30 cases in Europe.

Researchers attribute the growing rate of cancer cases in Latin Americans as many nations are enjoying the benefits of growing economic prosperity but also are leading longer, more sedentary lives, accompanied by a rise in alcohol consumption, smoking and obesity. That is not only leading to an increase in cancer rates, which are expected to rise more than 33 percent in the region by 2020, but a disproportionately high number of cancer.

It estimated that by 2030, 1.7 million cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Latin America and the Caribbean, with more than one million deaths from cancer predicted to occur annually.

"We want to galvanize everybody to take action... Cancer is going to be the number one threat and we believe it is very wise to invest more and distribute the budget and resources equitably across all the populations of a country," lead researcher Paul Goss of Harvard Medical School told a press conference.

"Too small a fraction of GDP is going to cancer control and too small a fraction of the overall health budget is directed to cancer control," he added.

The experts looked at cancer incidence and care in the Latin American and Caribbean region, including the following countries: Argentina, Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, French Guiana, Guyana, Honduras, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Paraguay and El Salvador.

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