World Cancer Day is celebrated on February 4 every year to raise awareness about cancer and work to make it a global health priority. 9.6 million people die from cancer every year and 70 per cent of cancer deaths occur in low-to-middle income countries.
Around the world, communities hold festivals, walks, seminars, public information campaigns, and other events to raise awareness and educate people on how to fight cancer through screening and early detection, through healthy eating and physical activity, by quitting smoking, and by urging public officials to make cancer issues a priority.
World Cancer Day theme for 2019
This year, the Union for International Cancer Control, which organizes World Cancer Day, is launching a new 3-year campaign with the theme ‘I Am and I Will.’
It calls for a personal commitment to help reduce the global burden of cancer.
How common is cancer?
1. India ranks third in cancer cases after China and the US.
2. Cancer among woman in the country is estimated to be 0.7 million reported cases.
3. Every year India reports more than a million new cancer cases.
4. Among them, half million deaths happen due to the ignorance of the disease.
5. One woman dies of cervical cancer every eight minutes in India.
6. For every two women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, one woman dies of it in the country, accordingly to the National Institute of Cancer Prevention Research (NICPR).
Most common cancers in India and their detection
1. Breast Cancer
There are various symptoms to detect breast cancer.
A painless lump in the breast, a sudden change in shape and size of the breast, bloody discharge from the nipple, nipple retraction are some of the important signs.
The main screening tool to detect early breast cancer is mammography which includes taking an x-ray of the breast that produces an image of breast tissue and gives out the normal and abnormal structures within the breast.
Self-breast examination (SBE) should be taught to every female and encouraged from the age 20 years.
2. Cervical cancer
Cervical Cancer occurs when the abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina.
This cancer can be treated completely only if it is detected at an early stage.
It is diagnosed by PAP test. The symptoms of cervical cancer are bleeding from the vagina which is abnormal i.e. bleeding after menstruation cycle, menopause or after sex. Pain in the lower belly or pelvis and pain during sex are other symptoms.
3. Oral Cancer
Oral Cancer is a major problem in India. Of the global three lakh cases detected annually, 86 per cent are reported from India, where it’s the third most common cancer.
The main risk of developing oral cancer is tobacco and alcohol consumption. The detection of oral cancer at an initial stage has led to a significant decrease in death rates and sufferings.
Oral cancer can be detected by symptoms like pain in throat, long-standing ulcers in the mouth, loosening of teeth, change in voice and difficulty in chewing and swallowing. Regular self-examination of the oral cavity is advised to people who eat or smoke tobacco.