Uncontrolled and abnormal growth of cells within the body. Cancer is disease of body’s cells. Normally cells grow in a controlled way, but disturbance is caused because of genetics & control is lost. These cells spread very fast within the body. Those cancer cells which do not spread beyond a particular place are termed as benign. Means they are not harmful and can be treated easily. If these cells start spreading and effecting other parts of the body they are called as malignant.

Key Facts

As per WHO website (http://www.afro.who.int/) –

  • Cancer is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases in 2012.
  • The number of new cancer cases is expected to rise by about 70% over the next 2 decades.
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and was responsible for 8.8 million deaths in 2015. Globally, nearly 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer.
  • Approximately 70% of deaths from cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Around one third of deaths from cancer are due to the 5 leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use.
  • Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer and is responsible for approximately 22% of cancer deaths.
  • Cancer causing infections, such as hepatitis and human papilloma virus (HPV), are responsible for up to 25% of cancer cases in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Late-stage presentation and inaccessible diagnosis and treatment are common. In 2015, only 35% of low-income countries reported having pathology services generally available in the public sector. More than 90% of high-income countries reported treatment services are available compared to less than 30% of low-income countries.
  • The economic impact of cancer is significant and is increasing. The total annual economic cost of cancer in 2010 was estimated at approximately US$ 1.16 trillion.
  • Only 1 in 5 low- and middle-income countries have the necessary data to drive cancer policy.

Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Other terms used are malignant tumours and neoplasms. One defining feature of cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries, and which can then invade adjoining parts of the body and spread to other organs, the latter process is referred to as metastasizing. Metastases are a major cause of death from cancer.

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 8.8 million deaths in 2015. The most common causes of cancer death are cancers of:

  • Lung (1.69 million deaths)
  • Liver (788 000 deaths)
  • Colorectal (774 000 deaths)
  • Stomach (754 000 deaths)
  • Breast (571 000 deaths)

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