Cancer Prevalence Lower Than Global Average

Cancer Prevalence Lower Than Global AverageCancer Prevalence Lower Than Global Average

Nearly 140 out of 100,000 people are diagnosed with a type of cancer in the country today and the figure is slightly higher in men, said Dr. Mohammad Esmaeil Akbari, head of the national Cancer Research Center (CRC).

Breast and stomach cancers are the most prevalent in women and men respectively. Annually 10,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. The survival rate is 25%, with the remaining 75% having a chance to live for five years.

Stressing that the national cancer rate is not higher than the global average, he said “in Asia, Pacific and some other regions, the rate is five-fold,” Alef News Agency quoted him as saying.

Although the cancer rate is less than the global average, it is growing quite rapidly. The average growth rate of various types of cancers is between 4.5% and 6%.

He brushed aside rumors about ‘cancer tsunami’ and said “tsunami is a sudden event and not a gradually increasing trend; so it is incorrect to apply the term to describe the current status of the disease in the country.

“With proper planning we can slow, halt and perhaps reverse the trend,” he said.

Aging is the biggest risk factor for developing cancer and is associated with 70% increase in likelihood of the disease. “About 30 years ago the country’s average life expectancy was 56 years while now it is 74; therefore higher incidence of the disease is partly due to increase in longevity. “

Currently, 8.5% of the national population is above the age of 65.

Although aging is the most important risk factor in cancer development, unhealthy lifestyle can also contribute to the disease.

He pointed to the role of unhealthy nutrition in gastrointestinal cancer which is one of the most prevalent cancers in Iran, and said over-consumption of fast foods and salt can increase its risk.  

Salt consumption among Iranians is three to five-folds higher than the global average and most of the salt brands in the food market are harmful as they are not pure. Salt harvested from sea or mountains contains harmful minerals which should be removed, he added.