News / Health

WHO: One-Third of All Cancer Deaths Are Preventable

A flash mob participants walk in front of a hoarding spreading awareness on cancer in Hyderabad, India, February 3, 2012.
A flash mob participants walk in front of a hoarding spreading awareness on cancer in Hyderabad, India, February 3, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
— The World Health Organization reports one-third of all cancer deaths are preventable.   But, a global survey prepared for World Cancer Day, Monday, finds more than half of all countries do not have a comprehensive cancer plan that could save lives.    

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide.  The World Health Organization reports 7.6 million people died from cancer in 2008 and almost 13 million new cases of the disease are diagnosed every year.  

WHO says more than two-thirds of these new cases and deaths occur in developing countries and are continuing to increase at an alarming rate.  The medical officer in WHO’s Department for Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion, Andreas Ullrich, says the future outlook is grim.

“With population aging, in particular exposure to major risk factors like tobacco, we expect that over the next 20 years the number of new cases per year will double …We know that physical inactivity, obesity, tobacco use, alcohol use are major risk factors for cancer," said Ullrich. "So, we expect, particularly in the metropolitan areas of the developing world, a major increase in cancer.”   

Ullrich says cancer need not be a death sentence.  He notes people can prevent up to one-third of deaths by changing their lifestyles.  He says modifying risks from tobacco and the harmful use of alcohol, eating better and exercising more to stave off obesity can save lives.

He notes that some cancers are preventable through vaccinations.

“Infections can be prevented through vaccination like hepatitis B, a cause of liver cancer, and we can vaccinate against human papilloma virus," said Ullrich. "We know it is a cause for cervical cancer in women and we have vaccines.  And, we hope to prevent cancer.  On the other side, the care part is also very promising.  We have a huge progress in clinical medicine to treat cancer if detected early.”   

Ullrich says there are many low-cost and effective strategies that countries with limited resources can use to detect and screen various cancers, including cervical and breast cancers.  

A WHO survey finds more than half of all countries worldwide lack a comprehensive cancer plan.  It says these governments are struggling to prevent cancer and provide treatment and chronic care to patients.  

Responses from 185 countries reveal major gaps in cancer control planning and services.
 
The survey reveals only 17 percent of the African countries and 27 percent of the low-income countries have control plans to prevent, detect, treat and care for cancer patients.  None have a budget to support implementation.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid