Taking place every year on 4 February, World Cancer Day 2016 is a truly global event that aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer.

This event, under the tagline ‘We can, I can’, is an unique opportunity to spread the word that there are solutions across the continuum of cancer and that they are within our reach.

Currently, 8.2 million people die from cancer worldwide every year, out of which, 4 million people die prematurely. The number of new cases is expected to rise by about 70% over the next 2 decades. Prevention, early detection, treatment and care are essential to the fight against cancer.

Cancer risk factors

Changes in the way we live mean that more and more people around the world are exposed to cancer risk factors:

  • Tobacco and alcohol: Smoking is the biggest cancer risk factor and it causes five million deaths every year (22% of all cancer deaths). Reducing the rates of tobacco use will significantly decrease the global burden of a large number of cancers, including of the lung, oral cavity, larynx, pharynx, oesophagus, pancreas, bladder, kidney, cervix and stomach, and acute myeloid leukaemia. Alcohol use has also been linked to cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, bowel, liver and breast.
  • Poor diet and sedentary lifestyles: The rising levels of obesity and overweight are of concern in many countries around the world. They are strongly linked with an increased risk of bowel, breast, uterine, ovarian, pancreatic, oesophagus, kidney, and gallbladder cancers later in life. Yet, about a third of common cancers can be prevented through a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active. It estimated that about 32% of common cancers cases in the United Kingdom are preventable through a healthy diet, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.

Cancer prevention strategies

Educating and informing individuals and communities about the links between lifestyle and cancer risk is the first step in effective cancer prevention.

Everyone can take steps to reduce their risk of cancer by choosing healthy options including quitting smoking, keeping physically active and choosing healthy food and drinks.

Schools and workplaces have important roles to play in preventing cancer. Every school can foster a culture of health by providing nutritional meals and time for recreation and sport, and putting practical food and physical education on the school curriculum. Workplaces can put in place policies and programmes that motivate employees to adopt healthier behaviours.

Cancer early detection

Diagnosing cancer is not always easy. However, increasing awareness of signs and symptoms and the importance of timely treatment has been shown to improve survival from cancer. Finding cancer early almost always makes it easier to treat or even cure. In fact, recent researches from the United Kingdom have found that common cancer survival is three times higher when cancer is diagnosed early.

Health professionals play a critical role in early diagnosis, being equipped with the knowledge and skills to recognise the early warning signs of some cancers. Individuals can also be encouraged to know what’s normal for their body and to recognise any unusual or persistent changes.

Cancer treatment and care

Access to effective, quality cancer treatment and care is an imperative for maximising outcomes and quality of life for all people living with cancer. This includes radiotherapy, which is recognised as an essential tool in the cure and palliation of cancer and is indicated in more than half of new cancer patients.


Source: http://www.worldcancerday.org/