Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: Cancer Statistics

Cancer Statistics

Health

The World Health Organization projects that unless immediate action is taken, deaths from cancer will increase by nearly 80 per cent by 2030; most of them occurring in low and middle income countries. Which means nearly 260 lakh newly diagnosed cases and about 170 lakh deaths every year. In fact, cancer kills more people than do AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

There are so many known causes acting directly or indirectly on the systems to produce cancer. Many of them are related to lifestyle and avoiding these can prevent or protect against cancer.

Measures to prevent cancer include eschewing tobacco, having good dietary habits, physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, environmental health, prevention of cancer causing infections and limiting alcohol intake.

Tobacco

Many people relate tobacco to cardiac and respiratory diseases. But beyond that, smoking is the single biggest cause of cancer in the world.

Diet

This is a factor that concerns everyone. Diet plays a significant role in the prevention of certain cancers, not necessarily in the Gastro-Intestinal system.

A Healthy Diet can prevent many cancers, more so if it is combined with physical activity.

Cancer-causing infections

An estimated 22 per cent of cancer deaths in the developing world and six per cent of deaths in industrialised countries are related to cancer-causing infections.

Significant among these are Human Papilloma Virus causing cancer of the cervix and Hepatitis B and C causing liver cancer.

Environmental carcinogens

Environmental factors do play a role in certain cancers; poor air quality indoors and chemical pollutants can cause lung cancer. Similarly, food chemicals can be responsible for gastro-intestinal cancers.

Indian scenario

As per results published by the Tumour Registry, in men, lung cancer tops the list followed by cancers of the stomach, oral cavity, oesophagus and oro-pharynx.

In women, breast cancer leads, followed by cancer of the cervix, ovary, oral cavity and stomach.

Of these Tobacco Related Cancers namely cancers of the oral cavity, oropharynx, larynx, lung, oesophagus, pancreas and urinary bladder constitute 44 per cent of all cancers in men and 16 per cent in women.

What is being done?

The Union for International Cancer Control is aiming for a World Cancer

Declaration. The declaration outlines 11 targets to be achieved by 2020, which include:

Significant drop in global tobacco consumption, obesity and alcohol intake

Universal vaccination programmes for Hepatitis B and Human Papilloma Virus to prevent liver and cervical cancer

Universal availability of effective pain medication and

Dispelling myths and misconceptions about cancer

Every year February 4 is observed with a focus and for 2011 it is teach children and teenagers to avoid UV exposure by being Sun Smart.

Courtesy: The Hindu and Times of India