NPR reports that the developing world that cancer rates are increasing in the developing world. In fact:
The majority of cancer cases — 57 percent — now occur in low- and middle-income countries. And 65 percent of cancer deaths worldwide occur in these countries, according to an analysis by the American Cancer Society. But there’s a flip side to that story: Rates of certain cancers, including cervical cancer, have gone down in high income countries, according to the research published Monday in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
On the one hand, high rates of cancer are a bad thing. On the other hand, cancer is largely a disease of old age. Thus, improvements in treatment AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in developing countries allows people to live longer and ‘age into’ cancer. Although cancer is not good, dying of cancer at 70 is a significant life improvement compared to dying of a contagious disease at 30.
However, this finding highlights that health care in developing nations will increasing shift towards treating chronic conditions and diseases of old age, like cancer.