World Cancer Day
Shedding light on cancer
Cancer includes a complex group of diseases that is characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells in the body. Cancer is a disease that is known to have no boundaries affecting people of all ages and genders across the globe.
The most common cancers seen worldwide are breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and stomach cancer. The development of individualized and targeted cancer treatment strategies by pharmaceutical companies is expanding the boundaries of science and helping to increase the range of medications and therapies to treat different cancer indications. Let’s Join hands, wear the ribbons and show solidarity on this world cancer day 2024.
Demystifying Cancer Statistics
Cancer remains one of the biggest threats to our health and wellness in the twenty-first century. Almost 18.1 million new cases of cancer were estimated worldwide in 2020. Of these, 9.3 million were men, while 8.8 million were women. However, cancer continues to be the second-leading cause of death globally; nearly 10 million people pass away from the disease each year, and death rates are continually increasing. If the current trend continues, it will soon overtake cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of mortality. By 2030, there will be 13 million cancer-related deaths annually, predicts the World Health Organization (WHO), unless the world begins to take this issue more seriously.
What Makes World Cancer Day 2024 So Important?
February 4 is more than a day on the calendar. Every year on this day; the World Cancer Day campaign has been created to provoke action and inspire change among the population. International Cancer Day is the only movement through which the globe can band together to combat the cancer epidemic. The (UICC) Union for International Cancer Control led the initiative, aiming to receive more exposure and participation, provide more chances to raise worldwide awareness, and ultimately have a greater impact.
The theme for World Cancer Day 2024 is “Close the Care Gap”. It is focused on providing knowledge and awareness about cancer and ensuring each individual deserves access to cancer care.
World Cancer Day promotes cancer awareness, encourages its prevention, identification, and treatment, and relies on governments and individuals all over the world to take action. Its goal is to bring everyone together in the battle against cancer. It is crucial because, equipped with the appropriate knowledge; you may act promptly to lower your chance of developing cancer. This will contribute to lowering the global cancer rate.
Understanding The Cancer Cause
In simpler terms, cancer develops when normal cells in our body transform into abnormal tumor cells. It occurs in a multi-stage process from when the normal cell turns into a pre-cancerous cell and finally to a malignant tumor. These mutations are the outcome of how a person's genetic elements interact. Apart from these, there are three external agents which can cause cancer are termed as carcinogens. some of the carcinogenic agents are given below:
- Physical Carcinogens such as ultraviolet rays and ionizing radiations
- Chemical Carcinogens such as components of tobacco, alcohol, asbestos, and heavy metals
- Biological Carcinogens such as deadly viruses, bacteria, and parasites
Studies have shown that around one-third of cancer deaths are due to tobacco use, having a high body mass index or being obese, drinking alcohol, poor diet plans, and living a sedentary lifestyle. By avoiding risk factors and practicing evidence-based prevention measures, between 30 and 50% of cancers can now be prevented. Early cancer identification, adequate cancer treatment, and patient care can lessen the disease's burden.There is a growing number of cancer survivors if the disease is identified early and treated appropriately. Many malignancies have a good chance of recovery.
Today's cancer patients can have a high confidence that their disease can be treated and cured because important advancements in cancer detection, therapy, and rehabilitation have all been in the developed stage.
Five Things Everyone Must Do To Reduce Their Risks
1. Say No, To Smoking
Tobacco causes cancer. It contains particles that have been linked to the bladder, kidney cancer, larynx, throat, cervix, and oral malignancies. Avoid chewing tobacco. Additionally, try to minimize your exposure to secondhand smoke.
2. Think Before You Drink
Stay clear of booze. Excessive drinking increases the risk of lung, breast, colon, liver, and kidney cancer in the future for both men and women.
3. Shed The Fat
Obesity significantly increases the risk of several tumors. Red meat is not healthy, but lean meat is. All red meat (including goats, lambs, and pigs) is regarded as potentially carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. And you can solve this issue with ease. Try to lose weight, either head to the gym or go on a morning run. Eat healthy foods by incorporating more fruits and veggies into your plate.
4. Slip! Slop! Slap! - You Can Stop Skin Cancer
Slip on the shirt, slop on the sunscreen, and slap on hats and umbrellas to protect yourself from dangerous UV rays. Limit yourself from sun exposure, avoid using artificial tanning devices, reduce occupational radiation exposure, and ensure to use safer amounts of radiation in healthcare for diagnosing or therapeutic purposes.
5. Vaccinate ! Don't Procrastinate
It is well known that HPV and Hepatitis B, Epstein Barr virus can cause cancer. Receive HPV vaccination and hepatitis B vaccine after discussing them with your healthcare professional.
Unite To Close The Care Gap
There are nine targets that world cancer day has taken and aims to reach by 2025. Those are,
- Enhance healthcare systems to guarantee comprehensive cancer care for people throughout their lives.
- Reduce global use of alcohol and cigarettes, obesity, poor diets, inactivity, and exposure to known cancer-causing agents like asbestos.
- Ensure that there are widespread HPV (high-risk human papillomavirus) and hepatitis B immunization programs (HBV).
- Create cancer registries and surveillance to assess the impact of cancer.
- Global implementation of screening and early detection cancer programs.
- Put an end to cancer's stigma and false information.
- Make pain/stress management approachable to everyone around the world.
- Access to accurate diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care will be improved across the world.
- Promote training and education, particularly in low- and middle-income areas.
We Can, And I Can!
We are confident that by joining hands and working together, we can reduce the number of preventable deaths to one-third from this noncommunicable disease- cancer by the end of 2030.
“While we have different languages, varied cultures, and diverse origins, we share a common enemy: cancer. World Cancer Day reminds us that cancer affects millions around the world and that if we work together, we can defeat it.”
No matter how big or small, every person has the power to make a difference. However, by working together, the health community can significantly decrease the impact of cancer on the world.