News / Health

Breast, Cervical Cancers Rates Rising Worldwide

Women all over the world are at increased risk of developing breast and cervical cancers.  A new study finds that, for reasons not yet understood, the incidence of these cancers is up in most countries, with the rise especially sharp in the developing world.


Jessica Denton was 34 years-old and pregnant when she felt a lump in her breast.  Her doctors told her it was nothing.

"And they said if it grows during pregnancy, don't worry about it, everything does.  And I didn't worry about it until I was five months through, and I couldn't ignore it anymore," she said.

It turned out she had a gene that increases the risk for breast cancer. In her second trimester, Denton had chemotherapy.

Cancer specialists like Doctor Jennifer Litton say women with this mutation are developing cancer six to eight years earlier than their female relatives with the same mutation did in the past.

"Is it just because of screening?  Or is it truly something in the gene that's doing it?" Dr. Litton asks.

Perhaps more alarming:  a new study from the University of Washington shows breast cancer cases more than doubled worldwide in the past 30 years, an increase not explained by population growth.

More than one and a half million cases were diagnosed in 2010. Cervical cancer is also rising, not as dramatically, but three quarters of the new cases last year involved women in low-income countries.  

The study shows a huge difference in survival rates. In rich countries, women get screened.  They have access to drug therapies and a vaccine that helps prevent cervical cancer. The opposite is true for most women in poor countries.   

"What we're seeing in poor countries, where there is limited access to screening and treatment, women are dying at younger and younger ages in these countries," said Dr. Alan Lopez, from the University of Queensland in Australia, who co-authored the study.

The study shows that 75 percent of all new cervical cancers occur in low-income developing countries.

Dr. Lopez says this is due in part to advances in health care.  Fewer women are dying in childbirth and their daughters are surviving to become adults.  As a result, there are more women who can develop these cancers. But the report doesn't answer the biggest question.

"Cancer throughout the world, particularly these two cancers, are increasingly a problem of younger women...women of reproductive age," explained Lopez. "For whom any death must be considered avoidable."

The study's authors want researchers and policymakers to build on these findings. Some governments are already working to make cancer screening and treatment more accessible to poor women. The Obama administration says it is committing $30 million for breast and cervical cancer prevention programs in developing countries.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More