A Closer Look at Cancer

Prevention starts with cancer awareness and knowledge which can lead people to make healthier lifestyle choices, go for regular screening and spot possible cancer signs early.

What is cancer?

Cancer is caused by the uncontrollable division of cells in the body. These cells, which are abnormal, can invade nearby tissues or be carried to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system.

How widespread is cancer?

  • 9.6 million people are estimated to have died from cancer around the world in 2018
  • 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer
  • No. 2 Cancer is the second leading cause of death around the world

What are the main causes of cancer?

5 main dietary and lifestyle risks are behind 1 in 3 deaths from cancer:

  1. High body mass index (BMI)
  2. Not enough fruit and veggies
  3. Lack of physical activity
  4. Tobacco use
  5. Alcohol use

Common cancers


  1. Lung
  2. Prostate
  3. Colorectal
  4. Stomach
  5. Liver


  1. Breast
  2. Colorectal
  3. Lung
  4. Cervix
  5. Thyroid

How preventable is cancer?

30-50% of all cancer cases are preventable, according to the World Health Organization

How to reduce cancer risk?

  1. Don’t use tobacco: Don’t smoke, and try to minimise your exposure to secondhand smoke, a major cause of lung cancer.
  2. Eat a variety of healthy foods: 1 in 3 cancers are caused by poor nutrition and related factors such as obesity.
  3. Stay active: Keep a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
  4. Protect yourself from the sun: Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, as it is the most common cause of skin cancer.
  5. Get immunised: Get vaccinated against Hepatitis B and Human papillomavirus (HPV).
  6. Go for screening: Regular screening and self-checks for certain cancers can help you to detect cancer early and improve your chances of successful treatment.

What are the signs and symptoms?

While the signs do not always mean cancer, consult a doctor immediately if they persist:

  • Sores that refuse to heal
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge
  • Thickening or lump in any part of the body
  • Change in bowel habits or bladder function
  • Nagging cough or hoarseness
  • Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
  • Recent changes in a wart or mole
  • Unexplained weight loss or fever
TAGS cancer awareness, cancer fact, cancer screening, common cancer, healthy lifestyle, prevent cancer, reduce cancer risk
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