Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally. There were 19.3 million new cancer diagnoses in 2020 and almost 10 million deaths. These numbers reflect increases of 26% and 21%, respectively, since 2010. Global cancer rates are predicted to keep rising as people are living longer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the most commonly diagnosed cancers are breast, lung, colorectal and prostate, while the cancers with the highest mortality rates are lung, colorectal, liver, stomach and breast.
What are social determinants of health?
Social determinants of health (sometimes abbreviated to SDoH) are non-medical factors that affect health outcomes. The WHO defines them as ‘the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life’. Social determinants include income, education, job security, food insecurity, housing, early childhood development, social inclusion, environmental factors, structural conflict and access to affordable healthcare.
Social determinants were previously considered distant or secondary influences on health, but research suggests that they account for 30–55% of the global burden of disease. They have a direct link to the spread of communicable diseases – for example, close and unsanitary living quarters allow the spread of diseases such as Ebola and hepatitis. Social determinants of health also have an effect on the rates of non-communicable chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, heart disease and kidney disease.