There are days for celebrating milestones and days for reflection. Today’s World Cancer Day (4 February) is a stark reminder that cancer care is more than a health issue: it’s a globally significant issue of fairness.
With a million new cases being reported every year, cancer seems to be tightening its grip on India. Experts say the incidence of the killer disease is expected to rise five-fold by 2025.According to medical professionals, lung and oral cancers were the most common among men while cervix and breast cancer were striking more and more women.
According to health ministry data, out of more than 300 cancer centres in India, 40 percent are not adequately equipped with advanced cancer care equipment. India will need at least 600 additional cancer care centres by 2020 to meet the requirements.
Ignorance among the public, delayed diagnosis and lack of adequate medical facilities has given cancer the dubious distinction of being a ‘killer disease’. However, the fact remains that if cancer is detected in its early stages, it can be treated and an individual can lead a healthy life. It is important to create awareness about common types of cancer and their symptoms among the general public. Passing blood in urine is the first alarming sign and should not be neglected.
It is important to know that food plays a pivotal role in cancer prevention. Avoid a high-cholesterol diet like meat, liver and milk products. Intake of antioxidant-rich foods like guavas, tomatos, grapes and pineapples can help protect against cancer. Adding dietary fibre to your food can protect you from intestine cancer.
* Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 7.6 million deaths.
* India has nearly 3 million cancer patients.
* A million new cases are reported in India every year.
* Deaths from cancer worldwide are estimated to reach 13.1 million deaths in 2030.
* Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer causing 22 percent of global cancer deaths and 71 percent of global lung cancer deaths.
* Lung, stomach, liver, colon and breast cancer cause the most cancer deaths each
* Cancers such as breast, cervical and colorectal cancer can be cured if detected early and treated properly.
* There are more than 100 types of cancers; any part of the body can be affected.
* One-fifth of all cancers worldwide are caused by a chronic infection; for example human papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer and the hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes liver cancer.
I hope World Cancer Day serves as a reminder that this is not just an issue for health organisations, as cancer is not solely a health matter. It has wide-reaching social and economic implications. Cancer doesn’t discriminate – it affects people of all backgrounds. However, depending on your culture, lifestyle and levels of literacy you may be at a higher risk of certain cancers.