Cancer, the second leading cause of death worldwide, has become a major health concern in recent decades, with a notable increase in cases in India. According to the Global Cancer Observatory (GLOBOCAN), there were 19.3 million incident cancer cases worldwide in 2020. The prediction for India is alarming, with an expected 57.5% rise, reaching 2 million cases by 2040.
The National Cancer Registry Programme reveals that one in nine people in India is likely to develop cancer in their lifetime. Lung and breast cancers top the list for males and females, respectively, while lymphoid leukaemia emerges as the most common childhood cancer.
World Cancer Day, celebrated on February 4 annually, aims to raise awareness about the uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells leading to cancer. The history of World Cancer Day dates back to 2000, with a focus on promoting research, preventing cancer, improving patient services, and mobilizing the global community against this disease.
The current theme, “Together, we challenge those in power,” emphasizes the global demand for leaders to prioritize and invest in cancer prevention and care. Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, highlights the need for a just and cancer-free world.
Carcinoma, sarcoma, lymphoma, myeloma, leukaemia, brain, and spinal cord cancers are common types. Lifestyle factors, genetic predisposition, low immunity, exposure to radiation, and certain infections contribute to cancer risk. Recognizing signs and symptoms, such as unusual lumps, fatigue, changes in bowel habits, and unexpected bleeding, is crucial for early detection—the key to surviving this silent killer.