WORLD CANCER DAY 2019
The theme for 2019 is “I am and I will” – all about your story and your commitment. Whoever you are, you have the power to reduce the impact of cancer for yourself, the people you love and for the world. It’s time to make a personal commitment.
- Generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Other terms used are malignant tumours and neoplasm.
- One defining feature of cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries, which can then invade adjoining parts of the body and spread to other organs. This process is referred to as METASTASIS. Metastases are the major cause of death from cancer.
- It is a leading cause of death worldwide and accounting for 7.6 million deaths
The main types of Cancer are: lung, stomach, liver, colorectal and breast.
About 70% of all cancer deaths occurred in low and middle income countries
WHAT CAUSES CANCER?
Cancers arise from one single cell and the transformation from a normal cell into a tumour cell is a multistage process. These changes are the result of the interaction between a person’s genetic factors and three categories of external agents which are:
1. Physical Agents: ultraviolet and ionizing radiation.
2. Chemical Agents: asbestos, components of tobacco smoke.
3. Biological Agents: infections from certain viruses, bacteria and parasites.
Age is another fundamental factor for development of cancer.
RISK FACTOR FOR CANCERS
Tobacco use, alcohol use, unhealthy diet and chronic infections from Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV) and some types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
HOW CAN THE BURDEN OF CANCER BE REDUCED?
Cancer can be reduced by a) Prevention b) Early detection c) Management of patients with cancer.
a) Prevention (30-40% of cancer can be prevented)
- Increase avoidance of risk factors
- Vaccinate against human papilloma virus implicated in cancer of the cervix and Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
- Control occupational hazards.
- Reduce exposure to sunlight.
b) Early detection (30% can be cured through early diagnosis and treatment)
Deaths from cancer can be reduced if cases are detected and treated early. There are two components of early
i. Early Diagnosis
The awareness of early signs and symptoms in order to facilitate diagnosis and treatment before diseases become advanced.
Systematic application of screening test in the population. It aims to identify individuals with abnormalities suggestive of a specific cancer and refer them promptly for diagnosis and treatment.
For example – Mammogram for Cancer of the breast, PAP Smear for Cancer of the Cervix
c) Management of a patient with cancer
It is the series of interventions including surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and psychosocial support that is aimed at cutting the disease or considerably prolonging life while improving the patient’s quality of life.