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Asia's Cancer Rise Spectacularly by 2020

SINGAPORE - The number of cancer cases in Asia is set to increase spectacularly by 2020 due largely to longer life lengths and changing daily life’s, threatening a health crisis as poorer countries in the region fight to afford care.

A fast-growing populace coupled with public living longer and undergoing extreme transforms to diet and lifestyle will place a main burden on developing countries that cannot afford screening, vaccines and expensive treatment, experts said at the start of a two-day conference in Singapore.

"Many believe that cancer is somehow only a problem of affluent and aging societies. That's not true, of course," said Richard Horton editor and publisher of The Lancet medical journal, which is supporting the conference.

Others believe "cancer is somehow inevitable, that one is predisposed to it genetically. Again, that's not true. Forty percent of cancers can be stopped by simple changes in lifestyle."

Cancer of the lungs, stomach and liver are the greatest troubles in Asia followed by breast and colon cancers. The total number of new cancer cases in the area is projected to balloon from 4.5 million in 2002 to 7.1 million in 2020 if nothing changes.

Worldwide, there are 11 million new cancer cases accounted annually and 7 million citizens die from the disease every year, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.