When I was young, we used to laugh at those silly American statistics that some idiot took the trouble to work out. I remember one very vividly: every kiss takes 7 minutes off your life! Ah well, if you’ve got a slide rule and nothing better to do… (these days, of course, we could crunch it with a simple hand calculator).

I’m saying that because a new study may make a worthwhile statistical point, which is that approximately 170 million years of healthy life were lost worldwide due to cancer in 2008.

That’s pretty arresting. Ouch!

Researchers analyzed cancer registries from around the world and used a measure called disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) to assess not only the impact of fatal cancer, but also the effects of disabilities among cancer survivors, such as breast loss due to breast cancer or infertility due to cervical cancer.

The researchers also determined that men in Eastern Europe had the largest cancer burden worldwide (3,146 age-adjusted DALYs lost per 100,000 men). Among women, the highest burden was in sub-Saharan Africa (2,749 age-adjusted DALYs lost per 100,000 women).

Colorectal, lung, breast and prostate cancers were the main contributors to total DALYs in most areas, accounting for 18 percent to 50 percent of total cancer burden.

Infection-related (viral-based) cancers such as liver, stomach and cervical cancers accounted for a larger part of overall DALYs in eastern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa (27 percent and 25 percent, respectively)

In addition, the study revealed that improved access to high-quality treatment has not improved survival for a number of common cancers associated with poor outcomes, especially lung, stomach, liver and pancreatic cancers.

Translation: conventional treatment doesn’t work for most cancers (and is therefore not “high quality” care).

This study also shows quite starkly that Cancer is emerging in poorer countries. As they adopt the much-desired Western lifestyle, they get our diseases too.

To be knowledgeable and to beat cancer, you need to read my decisive book Cancer Research Secrets.

[The study was published online Oct. 15, 2012, in The Lancet]