Today, 4 February, marks World Cancer Day, which means it’s time for us to reflect on what we know about the disease. Below we’ve compiled 10 cancer facts that everyone should know.
World Cancer Day
The theme for this year’s World Cancer Day is “I Am and I Will.” Founding body, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), explains that this is to “reimagine a world where millions of preventable cancer deaths are saved and access to life-saving cancer treatment and care is equal for all – no matter who you are or where you live”.
“Today, more than half (65%) of cancer deaths are happening in the least developed parts of the world. Even if you live in a higher income country, inequities still exist among lower-income, indigenous, immigrant, refugee and rural communities. Equal access to cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care can save lives”. –www.worldcancerday.org
As we all know, the prevalence of cancer is staggering and scary. With so many types, potential treatments and statistics, it’s hard to figure out what’s most important to know about the disease. At Abundance Wholesome Foods we’re determined to educate ourselves and you about this, our greatest challenge in history, so that we face it head-on.
Here are 10 cancer facts to be aware of:
- Cancer is a group of hundreds of diseases characterised by unrestrained growth and spread of abnormal cells. Each disease has its own unique biological record, each caused by varying conditions. For example, cancer that originates in the breast is a different disease to cancer that originates in the lung.
- There are over 100 types of cancer and they can affect any part of the body.
- The most common cancers in women in South Africa are breast, cervix uteri, colorectum, lung and vulva cancers. For South African men, prostate, lung, colorectum, oesophagus and non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancers are most frequently diagnosed.
- Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally. It accounts for 1 in 6 deaths around the world.
- In 2018, the number of new cancer cases reported in South African males and females was 47,764 and 59,703 respectively.
- Childhood cancers account for 1% of all new cancer diagnoses. In 2018, about 15,590 children and teens ages (ages 0-19) were diagnosed with cancer. Although uncommon, cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children.
- Globally, approximately 70% of deaths from cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries.
- 30-50% of cancer cases are preventable. The following behaviours can help reduce the risk of cancer: maintaining a healthy body mass index, eating high amounts of fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, avoiding tobacco use and limiting alcohol use.
- Tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of cancer. Smoking tobacco accounts for 30% of all cancer deaths and 80% of all lung cancer deaths.
- Known causes of cancer are carcinogens, bacterial infections, viral infections, age, genetic makeup, immune system, body weight, obesity, lifestyle and environmental factors, as well as some medicines.
While scary, it’s better to know these cancer facts than ignore them. Knowledge is power and allows us to change what we can in our lives before we get ill. That said, until a cure can be found, prevention through a healthy lifestyle and regular health screenings are the best way to prevent cancer from taking hold.
To all of you struggling with this disease – whether personally or via a loved one – we send you strength, health and love. #IAmAndIWill