Cancer kills 8.2 million people in the world every year

CancerProfessor Edwin K Wiredu, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the  University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), says cancer, which is a leading cause of death worldwide, kills 8.2 million people in a year.

He also said GLOBOCAN estimates that 16, 600 cases of cancer occur annually in the country, and it is estimated that 12,700 cancer deaths occurred in 2008.

“Cancer is predicted to increase to 19.3 cases per year in 2025, compared to 14.1 million in 2012,” Prof Wiredu stated in Accra on Wednesday,  at a media briefing to commemorate this year’s World Cancer Day,  organized by the Cancer Society of Ghana (CSG).

Speaking on the Global theme: “Not Beyond Us,” Prof Wiredu, who is also the Chairman of the CSG, observed that making healthy life choices, early detection, providing treatment for all, and safeguarding the quality of life of the person affected by cancer,  are the four main areas to help fight the surge of cancer.

He said at least one-third of the most common cancers could be prevented through no smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, healthier diets and improved physical activities.

“Individuals and communities need to be made aware that at least one-third of the most common cancers can be prevented through reducing alcohol consumption, healthier diets, and improved physical activity levels, adding, ‘if smoking is included the figure is about 50 per cent,” Prof Wiredu said.

He also noted that beyond the four common risk factors, protection from ultraviolet radiation was also critical for skin cancer prevention, adding that, “Occupational and environmental exposure, including to asbestos, contribute substantially to the cancer burden.”

Prof Wiredu, however, called for effective collaborative efforts among stakeholders, herbalists and laboratories, as well as the media, to support in the education and sensitization of the public.

“By doing so we save ourselves and the country from economic hardships, because the economic cost of cancer is estimated to reach $458 billion per year by 2030, with population-based measures to reduce risk factors for all Non-Communicable Diseases, including cancer, are estimated at just $2 billion per year, for all low and middle income countries,” he said.

Dr Efua Commeh, Public Health Specialist at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), called for the formation of groups, that would campaign,  as well as educate the public on cancer.

She said even though Ghana had made strides in the fight against cancer, there was the need for more resources and funds, to implement the strategic measures to fight the distressing disease.

Dr Commeh disclosed that currently the GHS was training primary healthcare providers for them to be abreast with early signs and symptoms of cancer, since it was curable when detected and treated on time.

She, therefore, stressed on the effective collaboration efforts, as well as physical exercises among people, especially children, as it was extremely critical in the fight against cancer.

World Cancer Day is observed globally on February 4 every year, with the objective of saving millions of preventable deaths, raising awareness and educating about cancer, to galvanize all persons across the World to take action against it.

Source: GNA

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