MedWatch Digest: A 77% jump in cancer cases is expected by 2050 — and more

For Feb. 5, WGN’s Ben Bradley and Lourdes Duarte have the latest on new medical information, including:

WHO: Global cancer cases to rise 77% by 2050

The number of cancer cases worldwide is expected to increase by 77% by 2050, according to a new report from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.  

The agency studied data from 2022 covering more than 185 countries, and 36 forms of cancer. 

Ten types of cancer made up two-thirds of all new cases and deaths in 2022.  

Lung cancer was the most common occurring, with breast cancer second, followed by colorectal and prostate cancers. 

EPA proposes some PFAs be labeled as hazardous

The EPA proposed labeling some PFAs, also known as forever chemicals, as hazardous. 

They’re called forever chemicals because they take a long time to break down in the environment and in the human body. 

They’ve been found in hundreds of household items and in drinking water. 

And they’re thought to be in the blood of 98% of the human population.  

Studies have linked them to reproductive problems, heart issues, and cancers. 

A hazardous label would make it easier for the government to clean up contamination from PFAs

The EPA will seek public comment before making the hazardous label official. 

UChicago Medicine treatment for liver tumors

UChicago Medicine is celebrating the success of a new, noninvasive treatment for liver tumors that has the potential to treat other cancers.  

The health system was the first in Illinois to treat patients using histotripsy, which uses ultrasound energy to precisely destroy liver tumors.  

Since only mechanical forces are used to destroy cancer tissue, this sets histotripsy apart from conventional therapies like chemicals, surgery, or radiation. 

The procedure takes less than 30 minutes.  

Patients go home the same day. 

Research is underway to determine if it can also be used to treat kidney and pancreatic cancer. 

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