More than 10 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year. There are approximately 20 million people living with cancer at the moment; by 2020 there will be an estimated 30 million. More than 7 million people now die each year from cancer. Yet with the existing knowledge, at least one-third of cancer cases that occur annually throughout the world could be prevented.
Cancer is largely preventable: by stopping smoking, providing healthy food and avoiding the exposure to carcinogens. Information is also available that would permit the early detection and effective treatment of a further one-third of cases. Some of the most frequent cancer types are curable by surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The chance of cure increases substantially if cancer is detected early. There are effective strategies for the relief of pain and the provision of palliative care to all patients and their families, even in low resource settings.
In leading medical research centres around the globe, studies focus on developing new cancer drugs, determining the role of viruses in human cancer, developing vaccines or other resistant defence methods, identifying and eliminating chemical carcinogens, and learning more about the working of cancer cells.
A worldwide search is being conducted to find and develop materials that are effective anticancer agents. Many scientists are now convinced that damage to the genetic chemicals in the human cells, DNA, may be the key factor in the transformation of normal cells into cancer cells.
Overweight and obesity are both serious risk factors for cancer. Diets high in fruit and vegetables may reduce the risk for various types of cancer, while high levels of preserved and/or red meat consumption are associated with increased cancer risk. Another major determining factor is stress. Regardless of prognosis, the initial diagnosis is often perceived by patients as life-threatening, with over...