The World Cancer Day will be observed on 4 February with renewed pledge to combat and control the disease. The 2015 theme of this day is ‘Not Beyond Us. The purpose of the day is to highlight solutions that exist and take a proactive approach in the fight against cancer that affects everyone, no matter where they may be in the world.
The day was first organised by the International Union Against Cancer in 2005. Each year on 4 February, World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) supports Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to promote ways to ease the global burden of cancer. According to WHO, cancer is the uncontrolled growth and spread of cells. It can affect almost any part of the body. The growths often invade surrounding tissue and can metastasise to distant sites. Many cancers can be prevented by avoiding exposure to common risk factors, such as tobacco smoke. In addition, a significant proportion of cancers can be cured, by surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, especially if they are detected early. Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 8.2 million deaths in 2012. Lung, stomach, liver, colon and breast cancer cause the most cancer deaths each year. The most frequent types of cancer differ between men and women. About 30% of cancer deaths are due to the five leading behavioural and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, alcohol use.
In Africa, the most common types of cancer amongst women are cervical cancer and breast cancer. While the common cancer amongst African men are prostate cancer and liver cancer. Cancer is an emerging public health problem in the continent. About 715,000 new cases and 542,000 cancer deaths occurred in the continent in 2008, with these numbers expected to double in the next 20 years.