February 4 is observed as World Cancer Day every year.
What is cancer?
Cancer is a group of several connected diseases related to cells. Living beings are made of billions of cells. Normal cells go through a cycle of growth and regeneration. But when cell growth is abnormal and spreads rapidly, it results in cancer. Cancer cells can form clumps, also called tumors, which damage healthy tissues around them. This results in sickness. Some of these cancer cells separate themselves from the tumor and travel to other parts of the body, continue to grow and form new tumors, spreading the cancer. This is called metastasis.
This year the theme of World Cancer Day is “Not Beyond Us,” to emphasize that solutions exist and are reachable. The campaign’s goal is to implement what is already known in the areas of cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, and care.
World Cancer Day 2015 has identified 4 main areas for education and action:
Some cancer facts
- Lung, stomach, liver, colon and breast cancer cause the most cancer deaths each year.
- The most frequent types of cancer differ between men and women.
- About 30% of cancer deaths are due to the five leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, alcohol use.
- Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer causing 22% of global cancer deaths and 71% of global lung cancer deaths.
- Cancer causing viral infections such as HBV/HCV and HPV are responsible for up to 20% of cancer deaths in low- and middle-income countries.
- About 70% of all cancer deaths in 2008 occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
- Deaths from cancer worldwide are projected to continue rising, with an estimated 13.1 million deaths in 2030.
Can we prevent cancer? Yes!
Here’s what you can do:
- Stay away from tobacco.
- Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
- Get moving with regular physical activity.
- Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Limit how much alcohol you drink (if you drink at all).
- Protect your skin.
- Know yourself, your family history, and your risks.
- Get regular check-ups and cancer screening tests.
Help your loved ones prevent cancer on World Cancer Day
Infographic courtesy Prevent Cancer Foundation
Featured image at the top of the post courtesy NDTV Food – Six ways to reduce the risk of cancer