World Cancer Day

What Is Cancer:

Cancer is a disease that happens when cellular changes lead to uncontrolled cell growth and division.
Some cancer causes cell growth and division at a slower rate while some causes rapid growth and sometimes cause a visible growth called, Tumor.
While some cancers don’t show a visible growth like Leukemia.

In our body, cells often die. Newer cells can be replaced for better function. But, in cancerous cells, components that instruct them to stop dividing and die, doesn’t work.
So, they continue to grow and form a cluster, use the oxygen and nutrients for the average healthy cells, and develop a Tumor. It impairs the immune system and causes irregularities.
Cancerous cells also spread on to other parts of the body via blood or lymph nodes. And cause infections and similar abnormal growth in those parts too. This can be fatal.
Benign tumors: These are non-cancerous and not a threat to life. Their growth is slow and does not spread to other parts of the body. They are similar to normal or healthy cells. They will be a problem only when they grow very large in size, becoming a brain .tumor

Malignant tumors; These tumors are faster to grow and have the ability to destroy and spread in neighboring tissue. Upon penetrating healthy tissue at the new part of the body, they continue to divide and grow. This condition is attributed to metastatic cancer.

Precancerous: The condition where abnormal cells are likely to develop into cancer.


There are many preventable and not preventable causes of cancer; for example, 80-90% of lung cancer is caused by smoking. In India, around 52,000 deaths and 77000 new Oral cancer cases
( majorly caused by chewing tobacco, pan-masala, etc.) are reported in a year, which is approximately one-fourth of global cases. The rising incidences of oral cancer are the most concerning for community health as this type of cancer is very prevalent in India. The report said about 80% of the world’s smokers live in low and middle-income countries. Besides, 64% of the world’s daily smokers live in only ten countries, and more than 50 percent of the world’s male smokers live in three countries: China, India, and Indonesia. There are currently 164 million smokeless tobacco users, 69 million smokers, and 42 million smokers and chewers in India. More than 90% of patients with oral cancer have low or lower-middle socioeconomic status. Tobacco-related cancers estimate for 34-69% of all cancers in males; and 10-27% of all cancers in females in Indian. The cases of colorectal cancer are growing in the most developed and urban populations in India.

In addition to smoking and tobacco, other risk factors for cancer are:

  • excess consumption of alcohol.
  • Obesity and excess weight.
  • Physical inactivity and poor nutrition.

Other causes of cancer are not preventable, like Genetic factors or age.

Can cancer be genetic?

Yes, unfortunately, Genetic factors can be a cause of cancer.
As our genetic code tells our body when to divide and kill a cell, changes in the gene pattern can lead to cancer. Genes also influence protein production in cells, and proteins carry many cellular growth instructions.
Some genetic mutations occur after birth, and smoking and exposure to the sun can increase the risk.
Lastly, a person can inherit an inclination for a type of cancer from their genes. Doctors refer to this as a hereditary cancer syndrome. These inherited genetic factors significantly contribute to the development of 5–10% of cancer cases.
With the same spirit of World cancer day campaign , Asian hospitals, is also passionate and determined to eradicate Cancer, and to provide a healthy and cancer free life.

Types of cancers:

If we group cancer according to the type of cell it forms in, we have five primary forms:

  • Carcinoma – This cancer forms in the skin or in the tissues that cover the internal organs. The subtypes include adenocarcinoma, basal cell, squamous cell, and transitional cell carcinoma.
  • Sarcoma – this cancer develops in the connective tissues such as cartilage, bone, muscle, fat, or blood vessels.
  • Leukemia – The cancer of the white blood cells is called Leukemia. It starts in the tissues that form blood cells, like bone marrow.
  • Lymphoma and myeloma – these form cancers begin in the immune system cells.
  • Brain and spinal cord cancers – these cancers affect central nervous system( CNS) cancers.
  • We also classify cancers according to which body part they start in, such as breast cancer &lung cancer.



    Doctors provide treatments based on the type of cancer, its diagnosis stage, and the individual’s health.
    Below are examples of methods of cancer treatment:

    • Chemotherapy, Although the side effects are well known, in this process, medications aim to kill the cancerous cell by targeting rapidly dividing cells.
    • Hormone therapy is a standard method used for prostate and breast cancer( the most curable cancers). The process involves taking medicines to change how specific hormones work or impede the body’s ability to provide them.
    • Immunotherapy, Two examples of this method are adoptive cell transfer, checkpoint inhibitors and. The process involves the use of medications to boost the immune system and encourage it to fight cancer.
    • A newer, developing approach to treating cancers is using genetic testing to determine the best treatments for a person’s particular cancer presentation. It is called Precision medicine, or personalized medicine.
    • Radiation therapy, the method to use high-dose radiation to kill cancerous cells. Also, doctors use radiation to shrink a tumor before surgery or reduce it in size to remove the symptoms caused by it.
    • Stem cell transplant is useful and used for patients with blood cancer, Leukemia, or lymphoma. The process is to remove red or white blood cells destroyed by the chemotherapy; Then the strengthened cells are transferred into the body.
    • Surgery is often a form of treatment when a patient has a cancerous tumor. Also, surgeries are performed to remove lymph nodes to reduce the disease’s spread.

    Doctors will often use more than one type of treatment or a combination of treatments to maximize the process’s effectiveness.

    Early detection saves lives.

    With the work World Cancer Day on Feb 4, and the spread of information and awareness, people know that may be all cancers don’t show early signs and symptoms but some cancers show, including breast, skin, oral, cervical, colorectal, and some cancers that develop in childhood. Its really important to because finding cancer early almost always makes it is easier to treat or even cure, which means improved chances of survival and quality of life for people diagnosed with cancer. The projected cancer patients in India among men were 679,421 and females 712,758, for 2020. 1 in 68 males have lung cancer, 1 in 29 females have breast cancer, and an estimated 9 Indians 1 will develop cancer during their lifetime (0-74 years of age; Table 2). The projected five most common cancers in 2020 for males (lung, mouth, prostate, tongue, and stomach) constitute 36% of all cancers, and for females (breast, cervix uteri, ovary, corpus uteri, and lung) comprise 53% of all cancers (Data Supplement).
    WHO has stated that global cancer rates could rise by 60% over the next 20 years unless cancer care is ramped up in low and developing countries. Less than 15% of these nations offer comprehensive cancer treatment services through their public health systems. At least 7 million people could be saved over the next ten years by recognizing the most appropriate science for each country’s demographic, basing strong cancer responses on universal health coverage, and mobilizing different stakeholders to work together.

    World Cancer Day on 4 February, themed “I AM AND I WILL” is part of a three-year awareness campaign built to educate, inspire, and create action.
    This campaign gives a chance to produce a long-lasting result by engaging the public and providing more opportunities to build global awareness and impact-driven action.


    2021: Together, all our actions matter

    The previous success of this campaign shows that public action, and awareness around the subject of cancer
    have increased, and it is being felt across the world.
    This year is a reminder of the success of the collective impact based action around the world towards healthier and happier, and cancer-free living. And this campaign has shown how increased accurate information can lead to informed choices and decisions, countering the myths and fears.

    Content Reviewed by – Asian Hospital Medical Editors