World Cancer day 2017: Correcting false assumptions

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World Cancer Day, 4 February 2017

4.2.2017. Most people know someone who has, or has had, cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of new cancer cases is expected to rise by about 70% over the next 2 decades.

4 February marks World Cancer Day, focused on correcting false assumptions about cancer and bringing out better cancer awareness.

Different types of cancers are among the leading causes of mortality worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases, 8.2 million cancer related deaths and 32.6 million people living with cancer in 2012. It is expected that annual cases of cancer will rise from 14 million in 2012 to 22 million within the next 2 decades.

While cancer is undoubtedly a major cause of death in the Western world, it still strikes hardest countries with the least resources. More than 60% of world’s total new annual cancer cases occur in Africa, Asia, Central and South America with 70% of the world’s cancer deaths linked to these regions.

Prejudices and lack of information hamper the prevention of cancer, as in the developing countries cancer cases that would be curable are leading to deaths due to a lack of information and resources, expensive treatments and poor basic health care.

One third of cancer deaths are due to the following 5 behavioural and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco and alcohol use. The good news is that a lot of the preventive work can be done on an individual level, with quitting smoking being number one on the tip list. Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer causing around 20% of global cancer deaths and around 70% of global lung cancer deaths.

Cancer research and treatments have advanced a great deal during the past 40 years and one can already ask whether cancer will still be considered a deadly disease in 2035.

Alcohol use is a risk factor for many cancer types including cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus and liver, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 

In Belgium the risk of cancer is one of the arguments for a month without alchohol in campaign called 'Tournée minérale' emphasizing the health benefits of no alchohol consumption during the month of February, which includes World Cancer Day. 

World Cancer Day - 4 February 2017
Join the conversation with #Ican, #wecan to mobilise people on #WorldCancerDay !