Global burden of cancer
Cancer is a leading cause of disease worldwide. In 2012, there were an estimated 14.1 million new cases of cancer in the world: 7.4 million (53%) in males and 6.7 million (47%) in females, giving a male: female ratio of 10:9.The four most common cancers occurring worldwide are lung, female breast, bowel and prostate cancer.
Mortality from cancer
In 2012, an estimated 8.2 million people died from cancer worldwide.More than half of cancer deaths worldwide occurred in countries at a low or medium level of HDI.Lung, liver, stomach, and bowel are the most common causes of cancer death worldwide, accounting for nearly half of all cancer deaths.Lung cancer causes the most cancer deaths worldwide. Almost a fifth of all cancer deaths worldwide are lung cancers.
Why do we need to screen early?
This high mortality can be definitely brought down if cancers are detected early.
- More than 9 in 10 bowel cancer patients will survive the disease for more than 5 years if diagnosed at the earliest stage. .
- More than 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer & ovarian cancer at the earliest stage survive their disease for at least 5 years compared to around 15% for women diagnosed with the most advanced stage of disease.
- Around 70% of lung cancer patients will survive for at least a year if diagnosed at the earliest stage compared to around 15% for people diagnosed with the most advanced stage of disease.
Why are cancers detected late?
Nearly 1 in 2 people will develop cancer during their lifetime. We have to understand that “Cancer affects all of us”. Also countries are not doing as well as they could to diagnose and treat cancer, including India. The problem is that a lot of cancer symptoms can be very general and similar to those of other conditions.
In addition symptoms can easily be dismissed as less serious. “Aside from ‘lump’, which nearly 70% of people identified as a ‘warning sign’ for cancer, awareness of other symptoms – such as bleeding, weight loss, pain, coughing or difficulty swallowing – was remarkably low.
Generally only about 20-30% of people identified these without any prompting.Its very important for everyone to learn the warning signals of cancer so that cancers can be detected early.
Hence the take home message is – it’s better to opt for regular screenings to detect any silent symptoms and be prepared for any eventualities.