Comparing more & less developed countries

Here you can find out more about differences in age-standardised rates of cancer between more and less developed countries.

Although cancer is often considered to be more of a developed world issue, in fact 57 per cent of all cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) occur in less developed countries and 43 per cent in more developed countries.

Overall the age-standardised cancer rate (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) is higher in more developed countries. There were 268 cases of cancer diagnosed per 100,000 in more developed regions, compared to 148 in less developed regions in 2012.

Both sexes

  • The rate for all cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) was 1.8 times higher in more developed compared with less developed countries.
  • For melanoma of the skin, kidney cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma rates were at least three times higher in more developed compared with less developed countries.
  • For nasopharyngeal cancer the rate was more than three times higher in less developed than more developed countries.
Age-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)
Cancer WORLD More Developed Less Developed
Lung 23.1 30.8 20.0
Colorectum 17.2 29.2 11.7
Stomach 12.1 10.6 12.7
Liver 10.1 5.4 12.0
Oesophagus 5.9 3.6 7.0
Bladder 5.3 9.5 3.3
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 5.0 8.6 3.6
Leukaemia 4.7 7.2 3.8
Kidney 4.4 9.2 2.6
Pancreas 4.2 7.2 2.8
Lip, oral cavity 4.0 4.7 3.7
Brain, nervous system 3.4 5.1 3.0
Thyroid 4.0 7.4 3.0
Melanoma of skin 3.0 9.6 0.8
Larynx 2.1 2.7 1.9
Other pharynx 1.9 2.7 1.7
Gallbladder 2.2 2.1 2.2
Multiple myeloma 1.5 2.7 0.9
Nasopharynx 1.2 0.4 1.4
Hodgkin lymphoma 0.9 2.1 0.6
Kaposi sarcoma 0.6 0.2 0.7
All cancers excl. non-melanoma skin cancer 182.3 268.3 147.7

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F.
GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.1, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 16/01/2015.

Men

  • The rate for all cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) was 1.9 times higher in more developed compared with less developed countries.
  • Cancer rates were at least three times higher in more developed than less developed countries for cancers of the prostate, bladder, kidney, testis, multiple myeloma and melanoma of the skin.
  • Higher cancer rates were observed in less developed compared with more developed countries for cancers of the stomach, liver, oesophagus, nasopharynx and kaposi sarcoma.
Age-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)
Cancer WORLD More Developed Less Developed
Lung 34.2 44.7 30.0
Prostate 31.1 69.5 14.5
Colorectum 20.6 36.6 13.7
Stomach 17.4 15.6 18.1
Liver 15.3 8.6 17.8
Oesophagus 9.0 6.4 10.1
Bladder 9.0 16.9 5.3
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 6.0 10.3 4.3
Leukaemia 5.6 8.8 4.4
Lip, oral cavity 5.5 7.0 5.0
Kidney 6.0 12.6 3.4
Pancreas 4.9 8.6 3.3
Larynx 3.9 5.1 3.5
Brain, nervous system 3.9 5.9 3.3
Other pharynx 3.2 4.7 2.8
Melanoma of skin 3.3 10.2 0.8
Gallbladder 2.1 2.3 2.0
Nasopharynx 1.7 0.6 2.0
Multiple myeloma 1.7 3.3 1.0
Testis 1.5 5.2 0.7
Thyroid 1.9 3.6 1.4
Hodgkin lymphoma 1.1 2.3 0.8
Kaposi sarcoma 0.8 0.3 0.9
All cancers excl. non-melanoma skin cancer 205.4 308.7 163.0

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F.
GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.1, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 16/01/2015.

Women

  • The rate for all cancers was 1.8 times higher in more developed compared with less developed countries.
  • Cancer rates were at least three times higher in more developed than less developed countries for kidney cancer, multiple myeloma, melanoma of the skin and Hodgkins lymphoma.
  • Higher cancer rates were observed in less developed compared with more developed countries for cancers of the cervix, stomach, liver, oesophagus, lip and oral cavity, gallbladder and nasopharynx.
Age-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)
Cancer WORLD More Developed Less Developed
Breast 43.3 74.1 31.3
Cervix uteri 14.0 9.9 15.7
Colorectum 14.3 23.6 9.8
Lung 13.6 19.6 11.1
Stomach 7.5 6.7 7.8
Corpus uteri 8.2 14.7 5.5
Ovary 6.1 9.1 5.0
Liver 5.4 2.7 6.6
Thyroid 6.1 11.1 4.7
Leukaemia 3.9 5.8 3.2
Oesophagus 3.1 1.2 4.1
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 4.1 7.1 2.8
Pancreas 3.6 5.9 2.4
Brain, nervous system 3.0 4.4 2.7
Kidney 3.0 6.2 1.8
Melanoma of skin 2.8 9.3 0.7
Lip, oral cavity 2.5 2.6 2.5
Gallbladder 2.3 2.0 2.4
Bladder 2.2 3.7 1.5
Multiple myeloma 1.2 2.2 0.7
Nasopharynx 0.7 0.2 0.8
Other pharynx 0.7 0.8 0.7
Hodgkin lymphoma 0.7 1.9 0.5
Larynx 0.5 0.6 0.4
Kaposi sarcoma 0.4 0.1 0.5
All cancers excl. non-melanoma skin cancer 165.3 240.6 135.8

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F.
GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.1, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 16/01/2015.