Cancer is a large group of diseases which develops in the body when abnormal cells divide and grow uncontrollably, spread and invade the adjoining parts of the body. A Neoplasm and Tumour are other common names for cancer.
- Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally
- 10 million people die from cancer every year.
- At least one-third of common cancers are preventable.
- 70% of cancer deaths occur in low-to-middle income countries.
- Up to 3.7 million lives could be saved each year by implementing resource appropriate strategies for prevention, early detection and treatment
A key international awareness day on the global health calendar, World Cancer Day takes place every year on 4 February to unite the world in the fight against cancer.
World Cancer Day was established by the Paris Charter adopted at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millenium in Paris on 4 February 2000. It is coordinated by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).
The Day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year through education, raising awareness and by pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action.
The 2019-2021 campaign theme is ‘I Am and I Will’ The theme seeks to counter the negative attitude and belief that nothing can be done about cancer, instead promotes how our personal actions can be powerful and impactful.
Types of cancers
Carcinomas – originate in the skin, lungs, breasts, pancreas, and other organs and glands.
Lymphomas – cancers of lymphocytes.
Leukaemia – cancer of the blood. It does not usually form solid tumours.
Sarcomas – arise in bone, muscle, fat, blood vessels, cartilage, or other soft or connective tissues of the body. They are relatively uncommon.
Melanomas – cancers that arise in the cells that make the pigment in the skin.
Early symptoms of cancer
- Breast changes – Lump or firm feeling, Nipple changes or discharge.
- Bladder changes -Pain when urinating, blood in the urine.
- Bleeding or bruising, for no known reason.
- Bowel changes – Blood in the stools, changes in bowel habits.
- Cough or hoarseness that does not go away.
- Severe & long term heartburn or indigestion, Trouble swallowing, Nausea and vomiting and Appetite changes.
- Fatigue that is severe and lasts.
- Fever or night sweats for no known reason.
- Headaches and Seizures.
- Skin changes – a lump that bleeds or turns scaly, new mole or a change in an existing mole.
- Swelling or lumps anywhere such as in the neck, underarm, stomach, and groin.
- Weight loss for no known reason
Risk factors leading to cancers
According to the National Cancer Institute, the most common risk factors for cancer are :
- Advanced Age – More than 25% of new cancer cases are diagnosed in patients between the ages of 65 and 75.
- Alcohol – The more alcohol you consume, the higher your risk of cancer.
- Diet – A healthy, balanced diet could be one way to lower your cancer risk.
- Genetic Predisposition – Some people are genetically predisposed to developing cancer, and hereditary gene mutations play a role in around 5% to 10% of all cancer cases
- Obesity – According to the World Health Organization, Obesity increases your risk for many kinds of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, rectum, oesophagus, kidney, and gallbladder. Maintaining a healthy weight may make you less likely to develop cancer.
- Sunlight – The harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight can cause skin damage leading to skin cancer.
- Tobacco – Tobacco use is the leading cause of cancer deaths. Smoking, and even inhaling secondhand smoke, can increase your risk of lung, larynx, mouth, oesophagal, throat, bladder, kidney, liver, stomach, colon, rectal, and cervical.
Treatment modules :
Some misconceptions about cancer :
- Don’t talk about cancer. In fact the more we speak about cancer we spread more awareness about curing and treating cancer.
- There are no signs of cancer. It’s been proved scientifically that cancer can be identified at its very early stages.
- Cancer has no treatment. Cancer has a treatment and people need to be educated about it.
- No one has the right to cancer care. Taking care of cancer patients is the only hope which the patients can rely on.
No matter how dangerous it sounds, cancer is just another threat we are facing and the solution is to face it. Between pandemic and economic crisis, we have almost forgotten about what scares the most among us.