Cancer main cause of death in 10% of Brazil cities

These cities are located in the country’s more developed regions

Published in 17/04/2018 - 15:38 By Paula Laboissière reports from Agência Brasil - Brasília

Cancer appears as the main cause of death in 516 of Brazil’s 5,570 municipalities. The numbers can be found in a survey released Monday (Apr. 16) by the Oncology Observatory of the All Together Against Cancer Movement, in collaboration with Brazil’s Federal Medical Council. The study found that the disease has spread more and more each year, and may be responsible for the majority of deaths throughout the country ten years from now, if its proliferation remains at its current pace.

The figures show that most cities where cancer is reported as the main cause of death are located in the country’s more developed regions, where life expectancy and the human development index are higher.

Of the 516 municipalities where tumors kill most often, 80% are in the country’s South and Southeast—with 275 and 140 cities respectively, or 415 all told. The Northeast concentrates 9% (38 places), the Central-West 7% (34%), and the North 4% (19).

These cities are home to a total of 6.6 million people. Eleven of them are regarded as big cities—Caxias do Sul, in Rio Grande do Sul state, being the most populous one, with nearly half a million people. The list also includes 27 cities seen as medium-sized, with a population between 25 thousand to 100 thousand people. The other municipalities are small, with fewer than 25 thousand inhabitants. Araguainha, the smallest municipality of Mato Grosso, is also the smallest town named on the list.

Rio Grande do Sul ranks as the state with the highest number of municipalities where cancer is the main cause of death (140). While deaths from the disease throughout the country represent 16.6% of the total, the rate in this state stands at 33.6%. Among the factors explaining this gap are the population’s genetic profile, which can make people more prone to develop some type of cancer.


The survey also revealed that, in 2015, 109,780 deaths caused by cancer were registered in Brazil—up 90% from 1998’s 110,799. The increase was nearly three times as quick as the expansion in the number of deaths by heart attacks or strokes in the same period.

Data from the World Health Organization indicate that, all across the planet, cancer is responsible for 8.2 million deaths every year. Some 14 million new cases are reported yearly and cases are expected to rise up to 70% in the next 20 years.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Mariana Branco

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