Winning the war against cancer together


Cancer has been identified as a major source of morbidity and mortality globally. Hence, to lessen the burden of cancer, which is still a threat to all and sundry worldwide, the World Health Assembly in 2017 passed the resolution on Cancer Prevention and Control through an Integrated Approach (WHA70.12), urging governments and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to accelerate action to achieve the targets specified in the Global Action Plan and 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development to reduce premature mortality from cancer.

And for these programmes to be well-implemented to the actualisation of the goals, it is imperative for all hands to be on deck, from the least to the greatest, from individuals, to groups, corporate organisations, and government at all levels.

This explains the rationale behind the theme of the World Cancer Day 2018: We can. I can”, which has being in existence since the year 2016, for the sake of pressing home the message of reducing the burden of cancer through collaborative efforts.

Cancer Red Ribbon

Just as cancer affects everyone in different ways, all people have the power to take various actions to reduce the impact that cancer has on individuals, families and communities.

The WHO statistics states that 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.

It further stated that 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, Nigeria inclusive.

Late-stage presentation and inaccessible diagnosis and treatment are common. In 2017, only 26% 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.

Globally, the most common causes of cancer death as ranked by the WHO are cancers of:

Lung (1.69 million deaths)

Liver (788 000 deaths)

Colorectal (774 000 deaths)

Stomach (754 000 deaths)

Breast (571 000 deaths)

Thus, to reduce the surge of cancer to the barest minimum, everyone -individuals,healthcare providers,governments, and the society as a whole has got a role to play.