World Cancer Day: Key Things To Know About Causes, Symptoms, Treatment


By Abiola Olawale

Every 4th of February is set aside to raise awareness on cancer every year. Created by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) in 2000, World Cancer Day creates awareness, improves education and inspires global action to prevent grim reaper–cancer.

The campaign’s goal is to reduce the fatalities caused by the disease. It is no more a news that cancer is a deadly diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that about 10 million people die from Cancer every year.

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Following the marking of 2021’s World Cancer Day, theme is ‘I Am and I will’, The New Diplomat joins the rest of the world to create awareness on the nature and causes of Cancer.

What is Cancer?

According to the WHO, “Cancer is a disease which occurs when changes in a group of normal cells within the body lead to uncontrolled, abnormal growth forming a lump called a rumour.”

Cancer is an abnormality in the development of the human body cells. Many doctors have proven that cancer spreads at a fast rate, making it a dangerous disease. Patients of Cancer are always advised to seek medical intervention as fast as possible to avoid the spread to other parts of the body, which are commonly the digestive system, nervous system, bloodstream, among others.

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Cancer occurs differently in its victims, making it unpredictable. According to the WHO, Cancer has three groups, Benign, Malignant or Precancerous. These different groups of cancer give background to how fast or how terrible the cancerous cells can affect the body.

Benign cancer is not life threatening, as the cancer cells grow slowly. They can only cause problems if not treated on time. Malignant cancer is faster than the Benign cancer. It spread faster and possesses the ability to destroy cells in the body. This type is very dangerous if not well taken care of as the cancerous cell can metastasize to other parts of the body. The Precancerous, on the other hand, is described as the development of abnormal cells which may likely develop into cancer. However it is not proven that all cases tend to develop into cancer according to medical experts.

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Types of Cancer

Cancer is classified according to the type of cell, part of the body, it starts from. According to the WHO, there are five types of Cancer, namely, Carcinoma, Sarcoma, Lymphoma, Leukaemia, and Brain and Spinal cord Cancers.

The Carcinoma Cancer develops in the epithelial cells. The most common of this type of cancer is breast cancer, lung cancer. The Sarcoma is a type of cancer that develops in the bone or the human muscles. The most common of this type of cancer is leiomyosarcoma, liposarcoma.

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Lymphoma cancer develops from the immune system. It attacks the white blood cells which helps the human body to fight against infections. Leukemia Cancer develops from the bone marrow and tissues that forms blood cells. The most common type of this cancer is chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Brain and Spinal cord cancer is develops from the nervous system. The most common of this type of cancer is Brain tumour.

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Causes of Cancer

The cause of Cancer has not been scientifically proven as there are various factors that can cause cancer. Cancer has no specific cause as it has been proven that there are many factors that could lead to an abnormal development of cells in the body.

However there are a few factors that can increase the risk of the disease. Alcohol, Obesity, Diet, Radiation, Genetics, among other factors are seen as risk factors of Cancer.

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Excessive alcohol intake, lot of fats in the body, lack of exercise, family history of someone diagnosed with cancer, among others are the risk factors of cancer. However, it is also important to state that all these factors are not 100% proven scientifically, as individuals who are exposed to these risk factors are likely not to be diagnosed of cancer.

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Symptoms of Cancer

Symptoms of Cancer varies and depends on the nature of the cancer. However, some common symptoms are, unusual lumps, coughing, difficulty in swallowing, unexpected bleeding, weight loss, fatigue, pain, unusual breast change, appetite loss, complications with urinating, among others.

Treatment of Cancer

It is important to note that cancer is best treated when detected early. Managing of cancer depends on the nature or stage of the cancer in the body.

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The common types of treatment of cancer are, Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy. Surgery involves the partial or total removal of the part of the body affected by cancer. This mostly done in cases of breast or prostate cancers. Radiotherapy treatment involves the use of high-energy rays to reduce or totally destroy cancer cells. While Chemotherapy treatment involves the use of chemicals to destroy the cancer cells.

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According to the estimated report of the WHO on cancer, about 10 million die annually from cancer, making the disease the second-leading cause of death worldwide.

It would be recalled that many notable individuals have lost their lives to cancer. Among many iconic personalities, recently, Chadwick Boseman, a veteran actor, popularly known as Black Panther, who reportedly died from cancer in 2020.

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Also, Tony Snow, who was the Press Secretary to former President George Bush, was reported to had battled with colon cancer in 2005, leading to his death in 2008, at the age of 53.

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