4 February, 2019

World Cancer Day – Revolution in the fight against the disease!

Conscious prevention is the spearhead in the fight against cancer.

The 4th of February has been established as World Cancer Day, and is another opportunity to raise awareness of this modern-day scourge. Every year, and this year too, World Cancer Day carries a certain theme. This year, the theme of the cancer campaign is “I am and I will”, emphasising our active role as a catalyst in the fight against the disease.

In 2018, an estimated 9.5 million deaths were counted worldwide due to cancer, corresponding to 26,000 deaths per day. Although cancer mortality has fallen in recent years due to more personalised management of cancer patients and new, “smart” treatments, we see cancer cases increasing rapidly. The main reasons for this are poor eating habits, alcohol, smoking, air pollution, exposure to various chemicals/toxic substances and overexposure to ultraviolet radiation.

All of the above factors have been implicated in the development of tumours, and not by chance. The findings of all the clinical studies in recent years are now demonstrably clarifying the landscape regarding the inextricable link between people’s lifestyle and the development of cancer. In addition, there are those cases where cancer is a hereditary issue and requires special management and extensive monitoring. More generally, however, to a large extent (up to 95% of cases), cancer is a sporadic rather than hereditary disease.

Investing in prevention

Proper prevention is the spearhead in the fight against cancer. The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) predicts that through the implementation of the “Treatment for All” initiative, with over 1,100 member organisations in more than 170 countries, more than 3.7 million lives can be saved worldwide every year.

So what can we do to shield our bodies against cancer?

  • Adopt a Mediterranean diet and avoid saturated fats, salt/sugar and processed meats (which according to a recent study are directly linked to multiple cancers such as colorectal cancer)
  • Minimise or eliminate alcohol consumption
  • Embrace regular exercise and maintain a normal body weight
  • Minimize exposure to sunlight and wear sunscreen daily, even during the winter months
  • Stop smoking permanently and stop being exposed to places where we become passive smokers (as it is now a fact that passive smokers also increase the chances of developing cancer)
  • Avoid exposure to radioactive/chemical/toxic substances of any kind
  • Get vaccinated against Hepatitis C and HPV to prevent certain cancers
  • And of course, to carry out all the necessary regular check-ups which are scheduled according to our age and gender.

It is now a fact: Every day that passes, science will win a small battle against cancer!