Overall, cancer incidence is higher in more developed countries, but rates of cancer are rising in many lower income countries.
On this page you can find out about differences in cancer incidence and mortality between more and less developed regions. We are using the United Nations Human Development Index to make these comparisons.
Overall, the number of cancer cases and the age-standardised cancer rate (including non-melanoma skin cancer) is higher in more developed countries. There were an estimated 295.3 cases of cancer per 100,000 people in areas with very high human development, compared with 115.7 in areas with low human development in 2020.
There are also more deaths from cancer in more developed areas. There were an estimated 98.7 deaths from cancer per 100,000 people in areas with very high human development, compared with 82.7 in areas with low human development in 2020.
ASR = age-standardised rates. These are a summary measure of the rate of disease that a population would have if it had a standard age structure. Standardisation is necessary when comparing populations that differ with respect to age because age has a powerful influence on the risk of dying from cancer.
|Very high HDI
|Very high HDI
The Human Development Index measures average achievement in three key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, knowledge, and a decent standard of living.
The health dimension is assessed by life expectancy at birth. The education dimension is measured by mean years of schooling for adults aged 25 years and more, and expected years of schooling for children. The standard of living dimension is measured by gross national income per capita.
The scores for the three indices are then aggregated into a composite index. The Human Development Index captures only part of what human development entails. It does not reflect on inequalities, poverty, human security, empowerment or many other factors. More information can be found here.