This Saturday 4 February will be World Cancer Day, which aims to prevent millions of deaths by raising awareness and education about cancer worldwide.
Cancer is a leading cause of mortality. It killed nearly 10 million people globally in 2020 – nearly one in six of all deaths – and there were over 18 million new cases. It’s not surprising that most of us know at least one person who has had it.
4 February was declared World Cancer Day by the World Summit Against Cancer in 2000. There has been progress in fighting the disease and halting its rise since then, but there is still so much to do. According to United Nations estimates, death rates are set to keep rising and 13 million people will die from cancer annually by 2030.
The good news is that many cancers are curable if detected and treated early, and the number of survivors is rising. In the UK for example, survivability has doubled to 50% in the last 40 years. However, the variation in survivability between cancer types is huge – between 1% for pancreatic cancer and 98% for testicular cancer.
This progress on survivability is due to the push to study and understand cancer, which has led to advances in diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.
Although there are many ways to avoid cancer risks, no one is immune. World Cancer Day reminds everyone that together we can support the battle against the disease by raising awareness about prevention, early detection and treatment.
The theme of Cancer Day 2022 to 2024 is ‘Close the care gap’. This focuses on eradicating differences in access to cancer care services faced by different groups based on country, income, age, gender, and ethnicity.
We can all make a difference, big or small, in minimising the global impact of cancer.
Between 30% and 50% of cancers can be prevented by avoiding risk factors and using evidence-based prevention strategies, according to the World Health Organization. Ways you can reduce the risk include the following.
Don’t use tobacco
Tobacco smoke has more than 7000 chemicals. 250 are known to be harmful and at least 69 cause cancer. Worldwide, tobacco use is the greatest avoidable risk factor for cancer mortality and it kills more than 8 million people each year from cancer and other diseases.
Maintain healthy body weight, exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet
Being overweight or obese is linked to many types of cancer, such as oesophagus, colorectal, breast, endometrial and kidney. Regular physical activity; maintaining a healthy body weight; and eating a healthy diet, including fruit and vegetables, can all reduce risk.
Avoid or reduce alcohol
Alcohol use is a risk factor for many cancer types, including cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colorectal and breast. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol you consume.
Avoid the sun and artificial tanning devices, and use sun protection
Exposure to all types of ionising radiation increases the risk of malignancy, including solid tumours and leukaemia, which is cancer of the blood cells. Effective preventions include avoiding excessive exposure to the sun and UV-emitting tanning devices; and using sunscreen and protective clothing.
Reduce exposure to air pollution
Outdoor air pollution contributed to an estimated 4.2 million people dying prematurely worldwide in 2016, of which 6% were lung cancer deaths. Indoor pollutants are another big killer, caused mainly by inefficient stoves or open fires.
Spotting cancer early means treatment is more likely to be successful. There are over 200 different types of cancer and they can cause many different signs and symptoms. Sometimes symptoms affect specific body areas, such as lumps in our stomach or skin. But signs can also be more general, and include weight loss, tiredness, or unexplained pain. You don’t need to remember all these signs and symptoms – listen to your body and talk to your doctor if you notice anything that isn’t normal for you.
Delta Capita – supporting wellbeing and inclusion
It’s vital to feel included at work, whatever your background, beliefs, disabilities, or health problems. At Delta Capita, we want all our employees to feel supported in this way, to give you more sense of belonging and engagement at work, and to feel healthier and happier.
If you are looking for an employer that values wellbeing, inclusion and diversity, look at our current vacancies.
Our Reinventing Hub tells you more about how Delta Capita are reinventing the workplace through employee-centred initiatives.
This is part of a series of articles about reinventing support for DC’s employees. Other topics include oral cancer, disabilities, neurodiversity, Black History Month, Pride, Father’s Day, Ramadan and Easter.