Cancer is a cruel word, which can shake the very core of even the strongest. However, the good news is, today, the word ‘CANCER’ is less scary to people than it used to be in the last few years. We have many living testimonies about people who have been victorious over cancer. This is made possible only because of the proactive initiative taken up by many who have been part of this ordeal, one way or the other.
World Cancer Day is observed on the 4th of February every year; this year’s theme is ‘We Can. I Can.’ The theme emphasises on how you as an individual and we together as a community can do our share in reducing the burden of cancer. The truth is we all have the power to bring a change in minimising the impact of cancer by actively participating in raising awareness about early detection and risk factors.
Cancer is a generic term covering a large group of diseases that can affect any part of body. Cancer has emerged as one of the leading cause of death worldwide with ever increasing number of cases recorded each day. There were nearly 14.1 million cases of cancer and around 8 million deaths due to cancer recorded in 2012 (Globocan 2012). With such a huge number of cancer occurrences, it’s believed that in the next two decades the cases may raise up to 22 million (WHO 2015).
Top Cancers in Men
The 5 most common cancers among men, diagnosed in 2012, were lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach and liver cancers.
Top Cancers in Women
The 5 most common cancers diagnosed in women were breast, colorectal, lung, cervix and stomach cancers.
The most common causes of cancer death include:
- Lung (1.59 million deaths)
- Liver (745 000 deaths)
- Stomach (723 000 deaths)
- Colorectal (694 000 deaths)
- Breast (521 000 deaths)
- Oesophageal cancer (400 000 deaths)
Cancer and its risk factors
There are many factors that can put you at the risk of developing cancer, of which some of the factors can be checked and controlled, but there are few that are not in the scope to changes like aging or having a family history. Top risk factor that increases the chances of cancer is ‘THE USE OF TOBACCO’, nearly 20% of cancer deaths are due to this reason (WHO 2015). Other risk factors are:
- Lack of physical activity
- Unhealthy diet with low fruit and vegetable intake
- Being overweight or obese
- Alcohol use
- Sexually transmitted HPV-infection
- Infection by HBV
- Exposure to radiation
- Urban air pollution
- Indoor smoke from household use of solid fuels
Let us fade away the fear of cancer by spreading the message of ‘We Can. I Can.’
Be the one to inspire action and take action. Encourage healthy lifestyle choices.
- Screening Tests – Understand that early screening can detect cancer early and save lives. Early detected cancers have a greater chance of cure. (Pap smear, mammograms, PSA test etc.)
- Preventive Measures – Measures like taking vaccination for HPV and HBV, reducing UV rays exposure and adapting healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk factors for cancer.
Cancer screening tests and knowledge about cancer can help in bringing down cancer deaths and improving quality of life. Get educated about signs and symptoms of cancer.
PIH the premier healthcare facility in PNG believes that individuals must take responsibility for their health and well being. Therefore, encourages every one for regular screening and preventive checks regarding cancer. It welcomes everyone to share his or her concerns and doubts regarding cancer and to seek medical attention at the earliest.
Support others. Speak out and Share stories.