World Cancer Day: 4 February


Cancer affects everyone – the young and old, the rich and poor, men, women and children – and represents a tremendous burden on patients, families and societies. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world, particularly in developing countries. The aim of World Cancer Day is to increase awareness on cancer prevention and teach simple steps to reduce risk by living in a healthy way.

More than 70% of all cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where resources available for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer are limited or nonexistent. Tobacco use alone accounts for some 1.5 million cancer deaths per year.

Cancer causes 20% of deaths in the European Region. With more than 3 million new cases and 1.7 million deaths each year, cancer is the most important cause of death and morbidity in Europe after cardiovascular diseases.

Cancer is a leading cause of death globally: an estimated 7.6 million people died of cancer in 2005 and 84 million people will die in the next 10 years if action is not taken. The World Health Organization (WHO) has proposed a global goal of reducing chronic disease death rates by 2% per annum from 2006 to 2015. Achievement of this goal would avert over 8 million of the projected 84 million deaths due to cancer in the next decade. WHO is stepping up its response to meet this target.

The World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health of Republic of Tajikistan are jointly calling for coordinated action against infections that contribute to the global cancer burden.

“More than 30% of cancer can be prevented, mainly by avoiding using the tobacco products, having a healthy diet, being physically active and preventing infections that may cause cancer – says Dr Pavel Ursu, WHO Representative/Head of WHO Country office in the Republic of Tajikistan. Effective public health strategies and home-based care are essential to provide pain relief and palliative care for patients and their families in low-resource settings.

WHO is taking significant measures to prevent cancer and other chronic diseases. A key achievement has been the entry into force the WHO global health treaty. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), is a major step towards the goal of reducing tobacco use, which is the leading preventable cause of cancer.

The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Tajikistan jointly with WHO/Europe implements a program on tobacco control and the prevention as well as fighting of the diseases caused by using the tobacco products. WHO advocates an integrated approach to prevention, treatment and care for all leading chronic diseases. Integrated approaches that combine cancer prevention, diagnosis, management with that for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other chronic diseases are necessary because the diseases share common risk factors (tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity) and require similar responses from the health system.