About 170 Million Healthy Life-Years Lost to Cancer Globally

In 2008, total disability-adjusted life-years lost mainly due to colorectal, lung, breast, prostate cancer

TUESDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The age-adjusted disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) lost from cancer are considerable, with 169.3 million years of healthy life lost globally in 2008, according to a study published online Oct. 16 in The Lancet.

Isabelle Soerjomataram, M.D., from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, and colleagues used population-based data to derive the DALYs from the years of life lost (YLLs) and years lived with disability (YLDs) in order to estimate the global burden of cancer in 2008. DALYs were derived for 27 sites of cancer in 184 countries within 12 world regions.

The researchers found that, worldwide, in 2008, an estimated 169.3 million years of healthy life were lost because of cancer. The main contributors to total DALYs in most world regions were colorectal, lung, breast, and prostate cancers, and these caused 18 to 50 percent of the total cancer burden. Infection-related cancers were estimated to contribute an additional burden of 25 percent in sub-Saharan Africa and 27 percent in eastern Asia. There were considerable country and regional differences in the cancer profile of DALYs. The most important component of DALYs in all countries and for all cancers was YLLs, accounting for more than 90 percent of the total burden. Compared with high-resource settings, low-resource settings had consistently higher YLLs.

"Worldwide, an estimated 169.3 million healthy life-years were lost because of cancer in 2008," the authors write. "Of YLLs and YLDs, YLLs were the most important component of DALYs in all world regions; however, the relative contribution to the total from all cancers varied by region, and more so by cancer site."

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