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Published: April 02, 2012
Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and Dorothy Caputo, MA, RN, BC-ADM, Nurse Planner
Uniting the world, raising awareness and reducing the devastation of a disease that strikes 12.7 million people on earth every year. Those are the goals of World Cancer Day, being celebrated this year on Saturday, February 4.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is joining with other organizations throughout the world to support World Cancer Day. Every year, 7.6 million people die of cancer around the world, and many of those deaths can be prevented.
In the United States, cancer is the second leading cause of death, striking down more than a half a million people every year.
On a global scale, the numbers are daunting. The big C overwhelms more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis put together. And if nothing changes, the number of cancer deaths will increase by 80 percent by the year 2030 - a burden felt mostly in developing countries.
It doesn't have to be this way. Research shows that one-third of cancers can be prevented and early detection and treatment could save the lives of another third.
Despite these facts, low- and middle-income countries don't have access to screening and treatment technologies and cancer medicine and care. That's why in September, 2011, leaders from more than 120 countries participating in the United Nations Summit on Communicable Diseases declared non-communicable diseases including cancer a global priority and committed to taking action.
CDC cancer programs focus on the United States. But the agency is working with other countries, including Latin America, to improve screening.
The CDC has also joined other global health organizations to create the Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (GICR).
And the CDC's National Cancer Conference will have a track dedicated to international cancer concerns.
Proven ways to prevent cancer
Take a minute and consider all the ways you can prevent cancer:
Along with taking care of your own health, talk to your children about the importance of getting into the habit of a healthy lifestyle.