HEALTH: World Cancer Day, February 4
Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream and lymphatic system. Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are over 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for the organ or cells in which they begin, such as the cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer, the cancer that begins in the basal cells of the skin is called baseline cell cancer.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. For example in 2008 it caused 7.6 million deaths (around 13 % of total deaths.). Each 4 February, WHO supports International Fight Against Cancer and promote ways to ease the global burden of the disease. Preventing cancer and raising quality of life of patients are recurring themes.
In past years the themes used in the World Cancer Day were:
•2008: Giving children and young people a smoke-free environment.
•2009: Develop a lifestyle based on an energy-balanced healthy diet a
nd physical activity.
•2010: More information about vaccines against viruses that cause cancer (eg, HPV vaccines).
•2011: Teaching children and teenagers to avoid UV exposure to become “sun smart”.
•2012: Together it is possible.
•2013: Cancer - Did You Know?.
Facts and figures about cancer
•Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and in 2008 it was caused 7.6 million deaths (approximately 13% of total deaths.)
•Cancers that cause greater annual numbers of deaths are lung , stomach, liver , colon and breast .
•The most frequent types of cancer differ in men and women.
•Approximately 30% of cancer deaths are due to five factors of behavioral and dietary (high body mass index, low consumption of fruit and vegetables, lack of physical activity and consumption of tabacco and alcohol) risk and therefore , can be prevented .
•Infections that cause cancer, such as those caused by viruses of hepatitis B and C and human papiloma virus, are responsible for 20 % of cancer deaths in low-and middle-income countries and 7% in high-income countries .
•Smoking is a risk factor by itself causing a greater number of cases worldwide and causes 22% of all cancer deaths and 71 % of deaths from lung cancer.
•Cancer begins with the transformation of a single cell, which may have originated from external agents and inherited genetic factors .
•About 72 % of all cancer deaths in 2008 occurred in low and middle income countries. It is anticipated that cancer deaths worldwide will continue to increase: in 2030 about 12 million of deaths will be expected.
Cancer affects all (young and old, rich and poor, men, women and children) and represents an enormous burden on patients, families and society. It is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, especially in developing countries.
However, many of these deaths are preventable. Over 30% of cancers can be prevented with a healthy life or by immunization against infections that cause (HBV, HPV). Others can be detected early, treated and cured. Even when the cancer is in terminal phase, it is possible to alleviate the suffering of patients with good palliative care.