Table 1. Incidence, prevention potential, screening effectiveness, and mortality-to-incidence ratio differences for the 10 most frequent cancers around the globe.

Data are from (6). The PAFs were calculated in LMICs when available (9, 24, 27). Screening percentages reflect estimated mortality decline with effective screening based on published screening trial statistics (18, 25, 28, 29). Screening modalities exist for each of the listed cancer subtypes but may not be cost-effective or efficacious in many circumstances. The MIR reflects the effectiveness of current diagnosis and treatment in very high human development regions as defined by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (6, 24). Differences in MIR between HICs and LMICs provide a gross index of potential improvement with investment in early detection and treatment resources. Health policy priority is determined via a comparison of PAF (which could be addressed with maximal prevention investment) versus screening availability with associated mortality reduction versus potential improvements in MIR. These generalized policy recommendations are subject to interpretation and could be altered depending on an individual country’s situation and specific resource constraints.

Cancer typeRelative incidence in LMICs (%)Prevention potential (PAF) (%)Screening effectiveness (estimated mortality benefit, %)MIR in HICs (%)Difference in MIR between HICs and LMICs (%)Health policy priority
Breast15.621Yes (20–40)2228Early detection and treatment
Prostate5.10No* (0–30)1864Treatment
Lung4.174Unknown (0–20)827Prevention
Colorectum4.213-15Yes (12–32)4234Early detection and treatment
Cervix uteri11.795–100Yes (20–70)4219Prevention > early detection
Stomach3.769No†5638Prevention > treatment
Corpus uteri1.337No*1920Prevention > treatment
Ovary2.212No*679Additional research

*Screening for esophageal, uterine, ovarian, and prostate cancers is advised only for high-risk patient cohorts. †Gastric screening may be indicated in countries that have a particularly high gastric cancer burden (for example, in Japan).