World Cancer Day is a day solely dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and awareness of all forms of cancer. With the increasing number of cancer patients globally, we need more initiatives and a better approach to tackle this fatal disease spread all over the world.
This World Cancer Day is entirely different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the patients do not have access to proper healthcare and facilities due to the hospitals flooded with coronavirus patients. Meanwhile, another prominent difference is that the new most commonly diagnosed cancer form is now breast cancer.
Previously, lung cancer was the most widespread cancer type in the world with the highest number of cases. However, things have changed now with more cases reported for breast cancer as reported by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
As of 2021, several organizations are working globally to raise awareness about the early detection of breast cancer. Also, the WHO took the initiative to conduct consultations starting from this World Cancer Day. The organization is making combined efforts with other institutes to reduce the deaths caused by breast cancer.
The cases of cancer patients around the world skyrocketed over the past decades. According to data, the number of patients increased from 10 million to 19.3 million from 2000 to 2020.
Not only did the cases double in the last decade, but the number of cancer deaths also increased. The number of deaths elevated from 6.2 million to 10 million during these years. Also, nearly 1 out of 6 deaths are related to cancer, according to the data by WHO.
Several factors can contribute to cancer including an unhealthy lifestyle, poor diets, lack of physical activity, smoking, and drinking. However, another important factor is the average increase in the life span since older people are at a higher risk of cancer.
These circumstances call for increased investments in the prevention of cancer and controlling the number of cases. Also, breast and cervical cancer need special attention due to the increased number of cases.
Some of the widely spread cancer types have definite treatments available and cure if diagnosed early. Breast cancer, childhood cancer, and cervical cancer can cure with adequate treatment and diagnosis at an early stage. The WHO is taking steps to control and prevent various forms and cancer and extend support to the people living with this disease.
Coronavirus pandemic caused a major disruption in cancer treatment and contributed to late-stage diagnosis. Moreover, cancer patients have a risk of contracting Covid-19 and death from the infection.
According to a survey by WHO in 2020, 40% of countries of the world faced poor cancer treatment due to the pandemic. Also, the delay in treatment and diagnosis led to more deaths due to the disease.
Along with the lack of accessibility to cancer treatment, the declining global economy affected many parts of the world. Several patients from low-income countries can not afford the expensive cancer treatment during a global treatment. This factor also contributes to the increase in cancer-related deaths during the pandemic.