Breast cancer overtakes lung as most common cancer

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The World Health Organization says breast cancer now constitutes the most commonly occurring cancer globally. (Anja Niedringhaus/The Associated Press)

(Thompson Reuters/ CBC News) — Breast cancer has overtaken lung cancer as the most common form of the disease, accounting for nearly 12 per cent of new cases each year worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

“For the first time, breast cancer now constitutes the most commonly occurring cancer globally,” Andre Ilbawi, a cancer specialist at the WHO, told a UN briefing ahead of World Cancer Day on Thursday.

Lung cancer was the most common type for the last two decades, but is now in second place, ahead of colorectal cancer, which is the third-most widespread, Ilbawi said.

An estimated 2.3 million new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed last year, representing 11.7 per cent of all cancer cases, the WHO said in a statement. “Among women, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death worldwide,” it said. (…)

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