ISLAMABAD: World Health Organization (WHO) has said that deaths from cancer worldwide are projected to continue to rise over 11 million in 2030.
According to WHO, cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide as it accounted for 7.6 million deaths which is around 13% of all deaths in 2008. Lung, stomach, liver, colon and breast cancer cause the most cancer deaths each year.
In the WHO Western Pacific Region, it is estimated that close to 4.07 million new cases occurred in 2008 with 2.31 million in men and 1.75 million in women, it said.
The most frequent types of cancer differ between men and women.
About 30% of cancer deaths are due to the five leading behavioral and dietary risks included high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, physical inactivity, tobacco use and alcohol use.
Similarly, infectious agents are responsible for almost 22% of cancer deaths in the developing world and 6% in industrialized countries, it added.
Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of cancer in the world causing 22% of cancer deaths. About 70% of the lung cancer burden can be attributed to smoking alone.
It said early diagnosis programmes are particularly relevant in low-resource settings where the majority of patients are diagnosed in very late stages.
The WHO said that systematic application of a screening test in an asymptomatic population aimed at identifying individuals with abnormalities suggestive of a specific cancer or pre-cancer and refer them promptly for diagnosis and treatment.
Screening programmes are especially effective for frequent cancer types that have a screening test that is cost-effective, affordable, acceptable and accessible to the majority of the population at risk.
It said that the global action plan calls for national, international and multisectoral action across multiple areas to reduce cancer risks in populations, and to strengthen health care delivery systems for people with cancer.
Environmental and infectious causes are important for cancer prevention so that WHO’s guidance in those areas is part of the comprehensive approach.
Dr Wasim Khawaja from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) said that cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body, adding, other terms used are malignant tumours and neoplasms.
He said that 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.
He said that more than 30% of cancer could be prevented by modifying or avoiding key risk factors, including tobacco use, being overweight or obese, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, alcohol use, human papillomavirus and Hepatitis B infection, urban air pollution and indoor smoke from household use of solid fuels.
He added cancer mortality can be reduced if cases are detected and treated early.
The awareness of early signs and symptoms are essential such as cervical, breast and oral cancers in order to facilitate diagnosis and treatment before the disease becomes advanced.