Home NewsInternational ‘Prostate cancer will rise from 1.4m to 2.9m by 2040’

‘Prostate cancer will rise from 1.4m to 2.9m by 2040’

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan

Cases of prostate cancer will rise from 1.4 million in 2020 to 2.9 million by 2040 due to changing age structures and improving life expectancy across the world, an international peer-reviewed medical journal, the Lancet stated in a report released on Friday 5, 2024.

It projected that the rise in prostate cancer cases cannot be prevented by lifestyle changes or public health interventions alone, saying that governments at all levels need to prepare strategies to deal with it

According to the medical journal, late diagnosis of prostate cancer is widespread but more in Low and Middle Income Countries, where late diagnosis is the norm.

It noted that the only way to mitigate the harm caused by rising case numbers is to urgently set up systems for earlier diagnosis in LMICs.

The report titled, ‘Executive Summary’ read in part, “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in 112 countries, and accounts for 15 per cent of cancers.

In this Commission, we report projections of prostate cancer cases in 2040 based on data for demographic changes worldwide and rising life expectancy.

“Our findings suggest that the number of new cases annually will rise from 1.4 million in 2020 to 2.9 million by 2040. This surge in cases cannot be prevented by lifestyle changes or public health interventions alone, and governments need to prepare strategies to deal with it.

“We have projected trends in the incidence of prostate cancer and related mortality in the next 10 to 15 years, and make recommendations on how to deal with these issues.

“For the Commission, we established four working groups, each of which examined a different aspect of prostate cancer: epidemiology and future projected trends in cases, the diagnostic pathway, treatment, and management of advanced disease, the main problem for most men diagnosed with prostate cancer worldwide.”

The Lancet noted that it separated problems in high-income countries from those in low-income and middle-income countries, acknowledging that this distinction can be an oversimplification as some rich patients in LMICs can access high-quality care, whereas many patients in HICs, especially the USA, cannot because of inadequate insurance coverage.

It further noted that the burden of disease globally is already substantial, but options to improve care are already available at a moderate cost, adding that early diagnosis improves prognosis and outcomes, which reduces societal and individual costs.

It recommended changes to the diagnostic pathway that can be immediately implemented.

The Lancet added, “For men diagnosed with advanced disease, optimal use of available technologies, adjusted to the resource levels available, could produce improved outcomes.

“We also found that demographic changes in LMICs will drive big increases in prostate cancer, and cases are also projected to rise in high-income countries.

This projected rise in cases has driven the main thrust of our recommendations throughout.

“Dealing with this rise in cases will require urgent and radical interventions, particularly in LMICs, including an emphasis on education both of health professionals and the general population linked to outreach programmes to increase awareness.

“If implemented, these interventions would shift the case mix from advanced to earlier-stage disease, which in turn would necessitate different treatment approaches: earlier diagnosis would prompt a shift from palliative to curative therapies based around surgery and radiotherapy.

“Although age-adjusted mortality from prostate cancer is falling in HICs, it is rising in LMICs. And, despite large, well-known differences in disease incidence and mortality by ethnicity, most prostate cancer research has disproportionately focused on men of European heritage.

“Without urgent action, these trends will cause global deaths from prostate cancer to rise rapidly.”

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