The announcement that CVS will no longer sell tobacco products in its U.S. stores is welcome news to many public health practitioners and advocates. Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in the United States, causing more deaths than the next three most common cancers combined. And although U.S. smoking rates have never been lower and continue to decline, the number of deaths due to lung cancer in the United States grew by 4.3% between 1999 and 2008.
But as Katie Leach-Kemon, of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, noted in a recent blog for Humanosphere, the global cancer rates are growing at even greater speeds, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Katie’s blog post visualizes data from the 2010 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study to tell the story of cancer rates globally.
The blog itself is worth reading, both as an exploration of the global burden of cancer, but also as a snapshot of how public data can be used to tell a powerful story. It’s also a good reminder of how much NCDs need to continue to be at the top of the global health agenda.