Cancer is becoming more prevalent across the world as disease prevention improves and people live longer. Measuring the global burden of cancer is not straightforward. Cancer incidence and mortality data are not collected uniformly across countries; many countries have little or no collection of cancer incidence or mortality data. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) publishes global estimates of incidence, mortality and prevalence by country, cancer and sex every two to four years in their GLOBOCAN publication.
The National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) was asked to collaborate with IARC to produce an interactive display of cancer data worldwide to allow easy comparisons of the differences between sexes, sites and countries. It was imperative to represent the underlying data quality for each country.
Using Instant Atlas Software, a global interactive cancer map was produced showing cancer by sex, site and country globally. The interactive atlas provides the opportunity to compare the estimated age standardised rates with other countries and where the country lies within the inter-quartile range of the 184 countries included. Continent specific views have been created allowing comparisons within the five populated continents. Data quality is shown both as individual maps for incidence and mortality data and when a user hovers over the results for each country.
The Global Interactive Atlas is an easy to use tool that highlights clearly the different burden of cancers across the world, whether it is the increased rates of malignant melanoma in Australia, South Africa, The Americas and Europe, the differing global pictures for gynaecological cancers or the very high prevalence of upper gastrointestinal cancers in Japan.
Easy comparisons between sexes and sites and across countries within the same continent or globally have been made widely available through this collaboration between IARC and Public Health England.