There are striking disparities in the global cancer burden in women, yet few publications highlight cancer occurrence in this population, particularly for cancers that are not sex-specific. This paper, the first in a series of two, summarizes the current burden, trends, risk factors, prevention, early detection, and survivorship of all cancers combined and seven sites (breast, cervix, uterine corpus, ovary, colorectum, lung, and liver) that account for about 60% of the cancer burden among women worldwide, using data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Estimated 2012 overall cancer death rates in general are higher among women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) than high-income countries (HICs), despite their lower overall incidence rates, largely due to inadequate access to early detection and treatment. For example, the top mortality rates are in Zimbabwe (147 deaths per 100,000) and Malawi (138). Further, incidence rates of cancers associated with economic development (e.g., lung, breast, colorectum) are rising in several LMICs. The burden of cancer among women could be substantially reduced in both HICs and LMICs through broad and equitable implementation of effective interventions including tobacco control, HPV and HBV vaccination, and screening (breast, cervix, and colorectum).
- Received October 26, 2016.
- Revision received December 9, 2016.
- Accepted December 9, 2016.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.