Cancer in Iran 2008 to 2025: Recent incidence trends and short-term predictions of the future burden

Int J Cancer. 2021 Aug 1;149(3):594-605. doi: 10.1002/ijc.33574. Epub 2021 Apr 21.


Policymakers require estimates of the future number of cancer patients in order to allocate finite resources to cancer prevention, treatment and palliative care. We examine recent cancer incidence trends in Iran and present predicted incidence rates and new cases for the entire country for the year 2025. We developed a method for approximating population-based incidence from the pathology-based data series available nationally for the years 2008 to 2013, and augmented this with data from the Iranian National Population-based Cancer Registry (INPCR) for the years 2014 to 2016. We fitted time-linear age-period models to the recent incidence trends to quantify the future cancer incidence burden to the year 2025, delineating the contribution of changes due to risk and those due to demographic change. The number of new cancer cases is predicted to increase in Iran from 112 000 recorded cases in 2016 to an estimated 160 000 in 2025, a 42.6% increase, of which 13.9% and 28.7% were attributed to changes in risk and population structure, respectively. In terms of specific cancers, the greatest increases in cases are predicted for thyroid (113.8%), prostate (66.7%), female breast (63.0%) and colorectal cancer (54.1%). Breast, colorectal and stomach cancers were the most common cancers in Iran in 2016 and are predicted to remain the leading cancers nationally in 2025. The increasing trends in incidence of most common cancers in Iran reinforce the need for the tailored design and implementation of effective national cancer control programs across the country.

Keywords: Iran; cancer; incidence; predictions; time trends.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Prognosis
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult