Today is World Cancer Day. World Cancer Day is marked on February 4 to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. The primary goal of the World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer by 2020.
World Cancer Day originated in 2000 at the first World Summit Against Cancer, which was held in Paris. Founded by the Union for International Cancer Control to support the goals of the 2008 World Cancer Declaration, it calls on government leaders and policy-makers to significantly reduce the global cancer burden and integrate cancer control into the world health and development agenda.
Cancers are among the leading causes of death worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths in 2012. Yet thanks to breakthroughs in research and treatment, cancer survival rates have doubled in the last 40 years.
Cancer is the generic term for the group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. Other terms used are malignant tumours and neoplasms.
The number of new cases of cancer is expected to rise by about 70% over the next two decades. The five most common cancers in men in 2012 were prostate, lung, colorectal, stomach and liver. In women, the most common cancers were breast, colorectal, lung, cervix and stomach.
Smoking is the most important risk factor in cancer, causing around 20% of global cancer deaths and around 70% of lung cancer deaths. Lung cancer caused 1.59 million deaths in 2012.
An estimated 169.3 million years of healthy life were lost globally because of cancer in 2008, according to Cancer Research UK. In developing countries, cancer-causing viral infections – such as the human papillomavirus – are responsible for up to 20% of cancer deaths.
A person’s risk of developing cancer depends on several factors, including age, genetics and avoidable lifestyle factors. Smoking, insufficient physical activity, alcohol and obesity account for a high proportion of cancers around the world.
More than 60% of new annual cases of cancer occur in Africa, Asia and Central and South America – all of which account for 70% of the world’s cancer deaths.
The main goal of the day is to reduce illness and death caused by cancers by 2020. The theme for 2015 is “Not Beyond Us” – to take a positive approach to the fight against cancer and highlight the new treatments and solutions within reach. This year, the campaign will focus on four key areas: choosing healthy lives, delivering early detection, achieving treatment for all and maximizing quality of life.
World Cancer Day is a truly global event. We appreciate that everyone supporting the Day has different needs and priorities. In creating awareness, there are a wide variety of ways for you and your friends or colleagues to get involved. Engage with your network via your Twitter and Facebook pages, and share your World Cancer Day images on Instagram. Please use #WorldCancerDay #NotBeyondUs.
Empowering people to make healthy choices and reducing the social and environmental risk factors for cancer are key to achieving the global goal of reducing premature deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25% by 2025 and reaching the targets of the World Cancer Declaration.
Reference : World Cancer Day Organization, International Business Times UK.