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Visualizing the Burden of Cancer: Incidence Rate by 32 Cancers from 2005 to 2015

on Sun, 12/04/2016 - 15:40

Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide and one of the major noncommunicable disease. Current estimates on the burden of cancer are a fundamental peace of information for cancer prevention and control.

A recent study conducted by the Global Burden of Cancer Collaboration, leaded by Assistant Professor Tina Fitzmaurice, Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and published in JAMA Oncology on December 3, 2016 provided a comprehensive set of current cancer estimates, including global, regional, and national cancer incidence, mortality, years of life lost (YLL), years lived with disability (YLD), and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for 32 cancers in 195 countries and territories from 1990 to 2015.

Based on age-standardized cancer incidence rates, the following research questions were formulated: 1) which are the most common cancers or those contributing the most to incidencent cases per 100,000 population in a selected location (global, region, country or territory); and 2) what are those cancers which incidence rates are increasing and decreasing from 2005 to 2015. 

To find the answers to above questions, an interactive  exploratory data visualization was created (see the visualization below). It shows the list of 32 cancers ranked according to incidence rate (per 100,000 population) in 2015. The x-axis encodes the incidence rates. The incidence rates by cancers and year 2005 and 2015 are represented using dots (color coded) and a band connecting the dots. The band is color coded in light green if cance incidence decreased and light red if it increaded in the period of time. As the visualization is interactive, readers are able to show the incidence rates for a select location and sex by using selectors or filters located beneath the title of the visualization. By default, global incidence rates by cancers is displayed. Hovering the mouse over the chart, detailed information is presented in a tool tip.

According to key findings from the study, between 2005 and 2015, cancer cases increased by 33%, with population aging contributing 16%, population growth 13%, and changes in ag-specific rates contributing 4%. Globally, the most common cancer for men was prostate cancer (1.6 million cases) and for women was breast cancer (2.4 million cases). In total (both sexes) population, breast cancer; trachea, bronchus and lung cancer; and prostate cancer are the top three most frequent cances contributing to the cancer incidence. From them, breast cancer and prostate cancer show an increased incidence from 2005 to 2015.

Readers are encouraged to use the interactive visualization to explore the level and trends of cancer incidence in its country or any other location of interest.

I hope this visualization be useful for cancer prevention and control. 


Global Burden of Disease Cancer Collaboration. Global, Regional, and National Cancer Incidence, Mortality, Years of Life Lost, Years Lived With Disability, and Disability-Adjusted Life-years for 32 Cancer Groups, 1990 to 2015. A Systematic Analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study. JAMA Oncol. Published online December 03, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.5688. Available online (accessed Dec 3, 2016)  


Martinez, R. Visualizing the Burden of Cancer: Incidence Rate by 32 Cancers from 2005 to 2015. Public Health Intelligence, December 5, 2016. Available online 

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