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World Cancer Day, organized by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) is celebrated each year on 4 February. It's an opportunity to raise global awareness about the deadly disease and rally the international community to end the injustice of preventable suffering from cancer.

Cancer is defined as an abnormal cell growth of any part of the body which has the potential to invade or metastasize to other parts of the body. It's among the leading causes of death across the globe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 17 people die every minute from cancer globally.

The theme on this year's cancer day is “I can, we can.” It acknowledges that everyone has the capacity to address the cancer burden. We can work together to reduce cancer risk factors. We can overcome barriers to early diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care. We can work together to improve cancer control and achieve global targets to reduce premature mortality from cancer and NCDs.

Globally, both men and women are at risk of being affected by cancers. In men, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers are the most common types of cancers while in women, breast, lung, and colorectal cancers are the most common.

According to the statistics provided by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, some important facts about the deadly disease are given as follows:

  • In 2018, there were 18.1 million new cases and 9.5 million cancer-related deaths worldwide.

  • By 2040, the number of new cancer cases per year is expected to rise to 29.5 million and the number of cancer-related deaths to 16.4 million.

  • Generally, cancer rates are highest in countries whose populations have the highest life expectancy, education level, and standard of living. But for some cancer types, such as cervical cancer, the reverse is true, and the incidence rate is highest in countries in which the population ranks low on these measures.