Breast cancer and cervical cancer may become leading cause of death in women in developing world; Food & Wine Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin, a cancer survivor, talks about how staying positive can help you beat the disease
Breast cancer and cervical cancer death are threatening to become the No. 1 cause of death in younger women.
Around 2 million women are developing breast or cervical cancer every year, according to the first global review, which warns that the diseases could overtake maternal mortality as a cause of death in younger women.
The Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) says about 2 million women around the world are developing one of these two deadly cancers every year – much of the increase is in poorer countries. Even more concerning is their finding that breast cancer in younger women between ages 15 and 49 is particularly on the rise. The study, published in The Lancet, found that global breast cancer rates increased from 641,000 cases in 1980 to more than 1.64 million in 2010 - a 3.1 percent increase. Global cervical cancer rates increased from 378,000 cases per year in 1980 to 454,000 cases per year in 2010 – a .6 percent annual increase rate. Breast cancer killed 425,000 women in 2010, of whom 68,000 were between the ages of 15 and 49 in developing countries. Cervical cancer death rates have been decreasing but the disease still killed 200,000 women in 2010, of whom 46,000 were aged 15 through 49 in developing countries.
“People may wonder what the urgency is in addressing these cancers, but the numbers are staggering. It’s like six jumbo jets crashing every day,” said Jan Coebergh, a cancer specialist at Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, who wrote a commentary to the study.
In fact, breast and cervical cancer could soon match – if not overtake – deaths due to pregnancy and childbirth in the developing world.
“Now that we can clearly see the trends in breast and cervical cancer, they need to become a central part of the discussion when priorities are being set for women’s health programs,” said study coauthor Dr. Rafael Lozano, a professor of global health at the IHME.
Dana Cowin knows first-hand what it’s like to get a breast cancer diagnosis – and survive. The Food & Wine Editor-in-Chief recently told genConnect that it was through a positive attitude that she overcame Stage 3 breast cancer; she is known as a pathologically positive person.
“There’s an opportunity pretty much in every minute. My brain doesn’t really allow for incredibly oppressive black clouds to come in and say ‘it’s just doomed,’” Cowin says.
So, when she got her diagnosis of Stage 3 breast cancer, she says she thought: “Well, it’s really good it’s breast cancer, it’s really good I live in New York, it’s really good I have an amazing doctor, and it’s really good this is going to be over in a year. I think if you can stack the odds in your favor …get a great doctor, getting lots of information, taking care of yourself, maintaining a positive outlook – it’s going to be OK.”
Watch our interview with Dana Cowin below:
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