The COVID-19 pandemic has had a “profound” impact on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer around the world, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) noting that breast cancer has become the most common type of the disease. More than a year since the new coronavirus crisis began, its impact on cancer care has been stark, with “50 per cent of governments (having) cancer services partially or completely disrupted because of the pandemic”, said Dr. André Ilbawi, from WHO’s Department of Noncommunicable Diseases.
According to the WHO, the economic burden of cancer on communities is huge and increasing; in 2010, its cost was estimated at $1.16 trillion. “In 2020, the number of people diagnosed with cancer globally reached 19.3 million, with the number of people dying increasing to 10 million”, said Dr Ilbawi. According to the agency, there were 2.3 million new breast cancer cases in 2020, representing almost 12 per cent of all cancer cases. It is also the leading cause of cancer death worldwide among women. Dr Ilbawi noted that “for the first time, breast cancer now constitutes the most commonly occurring cancer globally, followed by lung, which has historically been leading cause in most of, of cancer, and third colorectal”.