Cancer Key Facts

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 8.2 million deaths in 2012.  It is expected that annual cancer cases will rise from 14 million in 2012 to 22 within the next 2 decades.
Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Other terms used are malignant tumors and neoplasms. One of definition stated that cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries, and which can then invade adjoining parts of the body and spread to other organs, and the latter process is referred to as metastasizing. Metastases are the major cause of death from cancer disease.

Key Facts
  • Among male, the five most common sites of cancer diagnosed in 2012 were lung, prostate, colorectum, stomach, and liver cancer.
  • Among female the five most common sites diagnosed were breast, colorectum, lung, cervix, and stomach cancer.
  • About 30% of cancer deaths are due to the five leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, alcohol use.
·        Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer causing over 20% of global cancer deaths and about 70% of global lung cancer deaths.

Cause of Cancer?
At the beginning, cancer arises from one normal single cell. The transformation from a normal cell into a tumor cell is a multistage process, typically a progression from a pre-cancerous lesion to malignant tumors. These changes are the result of the interaction between a person's genetic factors and three categories of external agents, including:
  • physical carcinogens, such as ultraviolet and ionizing radiation;
  • chemical carcinogens, such as asbestos, components of tobacco smoke, aflatoxin (a food contaminant) and arsenic (a drinking water contaminant); and
  • biological carcinogens, such as infections from certain viruses, bacteria or parasites
 Reduce the risk of Cancer?

  • Knowledge about the causes of cancers, interventions to prevent and manage the disease
  • Early detection through diagnosis and screening method.  Many cancers have a high chance of cure if detected early and treated adequately. Screenings such as mammograms for breast cancer, colonoscopy for colorectal cancer and cytology (pap smear) for cervical cancer will help to identify early cancer before recognized signs. If it is detected early then significant portions of cancers can be cured by surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. 
  • Modify and avoid key risk factors, including tobacco use, being overweight or obese, unhealthy diet with low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, alcohol use, sexually transmitted HPV (human papilloma virus) infection, infection by HBV (hepatitis B virus), ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, urban air pollution, and indoor smoke from household use of solid fuels

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