World Cancer Day: Facts and Details

© AP Photo / Stephan SavoiaA researcher works near a blood test machine recently developed which is so sensitive it can spot a singe cancer cell lurking among a billion healthy ones during a media availability
A researcher works near a blood test machine recently developed which is so sensitive it can spot a singe cancer cell lurking among a billion healthy ones during a media availability - Sputnik International
World Cancer Day is observed every year on February 4. This day was initiated by the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) to raise public awareness of this global problem.

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MOSCOW, (Sputnik) — Each year, World Cancer Day has a different focus. This year it will feature the tagline, "Not beyond us," and will aim to promote positive changes in way cancer is treated and to educate society about positive cancer treatment and prevention.

Cancer refers to over 100 diseases that can affect any part of the body. These diseases are often described as "malignant tumors" or "new growths" ("neoplasms").

Cancer develops from a single cell. A normal cell turns malignant during the process of cell-division when a pre-cancer process develops into a malignant tumor.

Abnormal cells outgrowing their normal boundaries and capable of penetrating nearby sections of the body and other organs are a typical sign of cancer. This process is called metastasis and is the main cause of cancer-related mortality.

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These changes are caused by a combination of genetic factors and three kinds of external factors, including physical carcinogens (ultraviolet and ionizing radiation); chemical carcinogens (asbestos, tobacco smoke components, aflatoxins or food-polluting substances and arsenic); and biological carcinogens caused by viruses, bacteria or parasites.

The most frequent types of cancer in men and women differ. Men are mostly diagnosed with lung, stomach and prostate cancer. In some countries, the most common cancer found in men is prostate cancer. The most common cancer in women is breast cancer.

Children usually suffer from cancers of the blood and lymphatic system or solid-structure tumors, primarily sarcoma.

Unhealthy eating and smoking account for 35 and 32 percent of all malignant tumors respectively, according to statistical surveys. In order to minimize the risks of cancer avoiding frequent sunbathing and eating too many foods with color additives is recommended, alongside visiting the doctor on a regular basis.

Early screening, diagnosis and treatment make it possible to reduce cancer mortality rates. Early diagnosis and screening (regular early-stage diagnosis of tumors) are the two methods for detecting cancer.

Oncologists say it is possible to treat virtually all tumors in their early stages, and 99 percent of these tumors can be treated surgically. It is possible to effectively treat tumors in the ovaries, breasts, testicles, the head and neck, and lymphomas even at advanced stages.

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Everyone over the age of 50 should visit an oncologist once a year. Women should visit gynecologists, proctologists and should have regular mammograms. Men should have X-ray images of their lungs taken, and they should also undergo a medical examination of the stomach, colon and prostate gland. These tests represent an early cancer-screening approach.

According to oncologists, over 95 percent of cancer patients treated at an early stage live for ten years or more after the disease was detected.

Doctors now utilize state- of the- art technology to treat cancer. But, to achieve success, patients need to be able to trust doctors. Cancer has become treatable and no longer means a death sentence.

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