Researchers at the World’s Health Organization’sInternational Agency for Research on Cancerestimates in a new report released on September 12, 2018 that the people around the world who have cancer is “rapidly growing,” with 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million deaths in 2018 alone.
Now that sounds scary but what’s is scarier is thatby the end of the century, cancer will be the number one (1) killer globally and the single biggest barrier to increasing our life expectancy, according to the report.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) uses the GLOBOCAN database, accessible online as part of theIARC Global Cancer Observatory(GCO). The GLOBOCAN provides estimates of incidence and mortality in 185 countries for 36 types of cancer and for all cancer sites combined.
Based on this data, researchers estimate that one (1) in five (5) men (20% of men) and one (1) in six (6) women (16% of women) will develop cancer during their lifetime and that one in eight (8) men (12.5% of men affected by cancer) and one in eleven (11) women (9% of women affected by cancer) will die from the disease.
One of the factors that account for this steep rise in the numbers is the fact that the global population is aging, and cancerrisks grow as you age. The numbers also look worse because in many countries, stroke and heart disease deaths are declining.
This means, we are doing better at taking care of our hearts and checking our diet but then cancer seem relentless.
What is evident from the report however is that countries with strong public awareness campaigns and laws that encourage people to quit smoking have seen a decline in the number of cases of lung cancer and cervical cancer cases have declined in countries with concerted efforts to screen for it.
In countries with strong economies, cancer associated with what researchers call lifestyle choices, such as obesity and drinking, have gone up.
In the case of Ghana, the report indicates 22 823 cases out of which the highest number is breast cancer. The second highest is the incidence of cervical cancer and then prostrate, liver follow closely.
Generally what this means is that we need to encourage more people to give up choices that increases the risk of getting the disease and it must be deliberate and concerted.
If we are to stand a chance against cancer, we have to prioritize it and make sure efforts to understand and deal with it is as prominent as we were with HIV/AIDS just a few decades ago.