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World Cancer Day

  • February 03, 2020

World Cancer Day

'Cancer' needs no introduction. It requires no survey either to declare cancer as the single most dreaded disease. It is also the second-leading cause of death worldwide. ‘World Cancer Day’ is observed on February 4th every year, is an initiative meant for everyone across the globe to join hands to fight this global cancer epidemic.

Cancer develops when a group of cells within the body undergo changes that lead to uncontrolled growth, called a ‘tumor.' The tumor can now spread to other body parts via blood or lymph, affecting body function.

Cancers may be classified as carcinoma, sarcoma, lymphoma/myeloma, leukemia, and brain/spinal cord cancers depending on the type of cell they start from.

Causes of cancers may be of modifiable risks that include:

  • Alcohol, associated with at least six types of cancer
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Diet and nutrition, high in red and processed meats, salted foods or low in fruits and vegetables
  • Tobacco, responsible for 22% of cancer deaths.
  • Ionizing radiation that include x-rays, gamma rays and UV radiations can cause melanoma and skin malignancies.

Non-modifiable risk factors include age, genetic predisposition, or a weakened immune system.

Symptoms of cancer vary based on types, but one needs to be vigilant about unusual lumps or swellings, unexpected bleeding, new mole or changes to a mole or chronic fatigue.

Mammograms, Pap test, colonoscopy, and low-dose computed tomography for screening breast, cervical, colorectal, and lung cancers significantly reduce cancer-related deaths.  Early detection helps treatment outcomes.

Advances in research are making cancer more and more manageable. Surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy or a combination of these are considered effective.

Novel strategies like ‘immunotherapy’ are making treatment more precise with fewer side effects. Personalized treatment based on genomic signature of the patient will soon be the ‘in thing’!

However, prevention is always better than cure. A good lifestyle will surely help to keep diseases away, including cancer.

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Disclaimer: Don’t follow any suggestions in this article without consulting a qualified doctor


  1. ‘World Cancer Day’:
  2. ‘Cancer Prevention and Control’- Centre for Disease Control and Prevention:
  3. ‘Four New Technologies That Will Change Cancer Treatment’-