NewsWorld Cancer Day 2024 Highlights Global Concerns

World Cancer Day 2024 Highlights Global Concerns


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Cancer, ranking as the second leading cause of worldwide mortality, has evolved into a pressing public health concern over recent decades. Operating as a silent and often undetected menace, this disease progresses stealthily in its early stages before displaying noticeable symptoms. Timely detection is paramount for survival in the face of this life-threatening threat.

In India, the prevalence of cancer shows a troubling upward trajectory. According to the Global Cancer Observatory (GLOBOCAN), the world witnessed 19.3 million new cancer cases in 2020, with projections indicating a 57.5% increase in India, reaching 2 million cases by 2040.

The National Cancer Registry Programme estimates that one in nine individuals is at risk of developing cancer during their lifetime. Lung and breast cancers top the list of most common cancer sites among males and females, respectively. Furthermore, lymphoid leukemia emerges as the predominant form of childhood cancer.

World Cancer Day 2024: A Global Initiative to Raise Awareness

World Cancer Day, observed annually on February 4, serves as a global awareness initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). Originating from the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium in Paris in 2000, the day holds historical significance with the establishment of the Paris Charter. This Charter aims to advance research, prevent cancer, enhance patient services, promote awareness, and unite the global community in the fight against cancer.

Theme for World Cancer Day 2024: A Call to Action

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, highlights that the central focus of World Cancer Day from 2022 to 2024 is to “Close the cancer gap.” Concluding the three-year campaign, this year centers around the theme “Together, we challenge those in power.” Dr. Moeti emphasizes the theme’s call for global leaders to prioritize and invest in cancer prevention and care, urging substantial actions toward creating a just and cancer-free world. This message underscores the need for collective efforts and advocacy to confront the challenges posed by cancer and to push for significant commitments from those in influential positions.

Understanding Cancer Risk Factors

Cancer manifests in various forms, including carcinoma, sarcoma, lymphoma or myeloma, leukaemia, and brain and spinal cord cancers. These diverse types can be attributed to modifiable and non-modifiable factors. Lifestyle choices such as excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, unhealthy dietary patterns, and sedentary behavior are implicated in the development of many cancers. Genetic predisposition, compromised immune systems, and exposure to manmade sources of radiation contribute to cancer risk. Infections play a role, with approximately 2.2 million cancer-related deaths each year linked to infectious agents. Understanding these factors is crucial in implementing effective prevention and intervention strategies. World Cancer Day 2024 stands as a collective call to address these challenges and work towards a cancer-free future.

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