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05.02.2010 Health

Cancer burden feared to increase

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Cancer burden feared to increase
February 04, 2010
Accra, Feb. 4, GNA - The worldwide cancer burden is projected to reach 26 million new diagnoses in the year 2030 and 17 million deaths, with the most rapid increases occurring in low and middle-income countries, according to the International Union Against Cancer.

In a press statement from the Cancer Society of Ghana and copied to the GNA to mark world Cancer Day in Accra, it warned that if no action was taken, each year 12 million people would receive a cancer diagnosis and 7.6 million people die.

The good news, however, is that experts estimate that approximately 40 per cent of cancers are potentially preventable and can be significantly reduced by stopping tobacco use and avoiding exposure to second-hand smoke, limiting the consumption of alcohol, avoiding excessive sun exposure, maintaining a healthy weight through eating healthily and exercising regularly.

The theme for 2010 World Cancer Day is: "Cancer Can be Prevented Too" and focuses on simple measures to prevent cancer such as no tobacco use, a healthy diet and regular exercise, limited alcohol use and protection against cancer-causing infections such as Hepatitis B virus infection.

This year's campaign aims at raising awareness of the fact that the risk of developing cancer can potentially be reduced by 40 per cent through simple lifestyle changes and other control measures such as vaccination, regular physical activity, eating healthily, limiting alcohol consumption and avoiding tobacco as well as a comprehensive and well coordinated national initiative that focuses on key risk factors.

"The campaign is protection against cancer causing infections, focusing on the viral, bacterial and parasitic infections that can lead to cancer," it said.

Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in any part of the body that mostly leads to death if not diagnosed early and treated.

Cancers are illnesses that are often chronic, debilitating, associated with grief and economic loss.

Each year, over 12 million people receive cancer diagnosis and 7.6 million die of the disease.

The focus of World Cancer Day 2010 is the prevention of cancers caused by infections (viruses, bacteria, and others). Some cancers such as cervical, liver and stomach cancers are examples of cancers caused by chronic infections.

Prevention of these infections is possible through interventions such as vaccination, use of antibiotics, improved sanitation and learning simple avoidance strategies.

In Ghana there is heightened awareness of the linkage between liver cancer and hepatitis B virus infections and the national push for screening and vaccination.

Currently the Cancer Society of Ghana (CSG) through partnerships with Africa Oxford Cancer Consortium (AFROX), U.K., is playing a leading advocacy role for a national drive towards screening, testing and vaccination of at-risk females against cervical cancer.

The CSG said it would continue to use its annual programmes (lectures/talks, screening exercises, health walks) to create awareness about the cancer burden and the simple but effective measures required to control cancer in Ghana as the country strived to attain middle-income status within the next decade.


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