Behavioral Risk Factors Contributed Most to Global Cancer Burden in 2019


FRIDAY, Aug. 19, 2022 — The main risk factors contributing to global cancer burden in 2019 were behavioral, according to a study published online Aug. 18 in The Lancet.

Khanh Bao Tran, M.D., from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues used results from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2019 comparative risk assessment framework to estimate cancer burden attributable to behavioral, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risk factors. Eighty-two risk-outcome pairs were included.

The researchers found that the risk factors included in the analysis accounted for 4.45 million deaths and 105 million disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for both sexes combined globally in 2019, representing 44.4 and 42.0 percent of all cancer deaths and all DALYs, respectively. Overall, there were 2.88 and 1.58 million risk-attributable cancer deaths in males and females, respectively (50.6 and 36.3 percent of all male and female cancer deaths, respectively). For both sexes combined, the leading risk factors for risk-attributable cancer deaths and DALYs in 2019 were smoking, alcohol use, and high body mass index. Global risk-attributable cancer deaths and DALYs increased by 20.4 and 16.8 percent, respectively, from 2010 to 2019, with the greatest percent increase in metabolic risks (34.7 and 33.3 percent, respectively).

“Given the increasing burden of cancer worldwide, this study can help policy makers and researchers identify important modifiable risk factors that could be targeted in efforts to reduce cancer burden globally, regionally, and nationally,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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