The chairman of the Cancer Research Center of Iran, Mohammad Esmail Akbari, says 41,000 Iranians die of cancer each year and Iran’s cancer rate is among the world’s fastest rising.

ISNA reports that Akbari spoke on Wednesday January 20 at a meeting marking Cancer Prevention Week, saying that 85,000 new cancer cases are reported annually across the country.

The statistics reveal that 18 percent of cancer cases relate to children and 50 percent of those cases become fatal.

Akbari pointed at air pollution as a major cause of cancer. He also cited the substandard fuel used in cars and at power-generation facilities as a chief contributor to the sudden rise in air pollution across the country.