World Cancer Day is an international day marked on 4th February all over the world to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. The primary goal of the World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer by 2020.

The theme for the 2017 is “We can. I can”.

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells, other terms used for a cancer are malignant tumors and neoplasms. One defining feature of 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/distant sites of the body, the latter process is referred to as Metastasis. Metastases are the major cause of death from cancer.

Cancer can have severe health consequences, and is a leading cause of death. Lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach, and liver cancer are the most common types of cancer in men, while breast, colorectal, lung, uterine cervix, and stomach cancer are the most common among women. More than 30% of cancer deaths could be prevented by modifying or avoiding key risk factors, especially tobacco use. Early detection, accurate diagnosis, and effective treatment, including pain relief and palliative care, help increase cancer survival rates and reduce suffering. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, tailored to tumor stage, type and available resources. Comprehensive cancer control plans are needed to improve cancer prevention and care, especially in low-income and middle-income countries.

There are currently around 200 known types of cancer. From lung and esophageal, to bowel and skin cancer. Lung cancer is by far the biggest killer. Every year it takes the lives of around 1.4 million people globally – That is slightly more than the populations of Birmingham and Coventry combined. Stomach cancer is the second biggest killer, with around 740,000 deaths per year, and liver cancer is third with 700,000 per year.

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 22% of global cancer deaths and 71% of global lung cancer deaths. Cancer causing viral infections such as HBV/HCV and HPV are responsible for up to 20% of cancer deaths in low- and middle-income countries.

The most common presentation of cancer may be: breathlessness, unexplained vaginal bleeding, persistent heartburn or indigestion, croaky voice or hoarseness, changes in bowel movements, persistent bloating, difficulty swallowing, sores that won’t heal, mouth or tongue ulcer that won’t heal, heavy night sweats, unusual breast changes, blood in excrement, unexplained weight loss, new mole or changes to a mole, coughing up blood, persistent cough, unexplained pain or aches and an unusual lump or swelling anywhere. If some of any one of these signs and symptoms appear one must consult the doctor.

Cancer can be diagnosed with the help Laboratory Tests of the blood, urine, or other body fluids that measure some substances in the body. Imaging Procedures for example CT Scan, Nuclear Scan, Ultrasound, MRI, PET Scan and X-Rays create pictures of areas inside the body. Sometimes Biopsy is performed, biopsy is a procedure in which the sample of tissue is removed from the body, and pathologist then looks at the tissue under a microscope to see if it is cancer.

A doctor who specialises in the treatment of cancer is called an oncologist. He or she may be a surgeon, a specialist in radiation therapy, or a medical oncologist. The first uses surgery to treat the cancer; the second, radiation therapy; the third, chemotherapy and related treatments. Each may consult with the others to develop a treatment plan for the particular patient.

Many factors affect a person’s prognosis. Some of the most important are the type and location of the cancer, the stage of the disease (the extent to which the cancer has spread), and its grade (how abnormal the cancer cells look and how quickly the cancer is likely to grow and spread).

Certain lymphomas such as Hodgkin’s disease require radiation for a cure. Other common cancers such as colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer are all curable, but only if they are caught in one of the first two stages (out of 4 total).

According to the report more than 12.7 people million are diagnosed with cancer as well as more than 7 million people are dying of cancer every year.

Generally, people suffering from cancer are shunned by the normal people as there are various social myths related to cancer that it is contagious. The day is also celebrated to remove such myths related to the cancer. The person with cancer should not be treated separately, they should have space to live like a normal person in the society and any relation should not be changed for them. They must feel self-respect and find a normal environment in their home and society.

Cancer has huge economic repercussions, too. It has been estimated that every year, cancer costs $290bn to treat – more than half of that is from medical bills. As we reach 2030, that number is expected to increase by more than 35% to $458bn.

Ageing is another fundamental factor for the development of cancer. The incidence of cancer rises dramatically with age, most likely due to a buildup of risks for specific cancers that increase with age. The overall risk accumulation is combined with the tendency for cellular repair mechanisms to be less effective as a person grows older.

The top ten countries with highest cancer rates are Denmark, France, Australia, Belgium, Norway, United States of America, Ireland, Republic of Korea and Netherlands. The age-standardized rate is at least 300 per 100,000 for these countries. Among Asian countries Pakistan has the highest rates of breast and ovarian cancer. Moreover breast cancer is the most common cancer in Pakistan as different studies show, it kills nearly 40,000 women every year. According to WHO, breast cancer rates are getting worse and it is not sparing even younger age groups.

World Health Organization (WHO) has launched the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases 2013-2020 that aims to reduce premature mortality from cancers by 25%. Never the less healthy lifestyles, balanced diet, regular physical activity, weight management along with avoidance from smoking and alcohol can definitely reduce the risk of the occurrence of cancers globally.