WHO calls for intensified action for the prevention of cancer on world cancer day

4 February, 2023 | newsx bureau

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On the occasion of World Cancer Day, which falls on February 4, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a call for increased action in the South-East Asia Region.

On the occasion of World Cancer Day, which falls on February 4, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a call for increased action in the South-East Asia Region to strengthen health systems in order to prevent and detect cancers earlier, provide prompt treatment referrals, improve access to palliative care, and close the access gap to high-quality cancer services.

Cancer has expected to kill 9.9 million people in 2020, making it the second leading cause of death worldwide. Global cancer incidence and mortality increased by 21% and 26%, respectively, between 2010 and 2019.

According to Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, tobacco use, high body mass index, alcohol use, low fruit and vegetable intake, and lack of physical activity are estimated to be the causes of one-third of cancer deaths worldwide.

Moreover, in 2020, an estimated 2.3 million people in the WHO South-East Asia Region were diagnosed with cancer, and 1.4 million of those people died from the disease. More than 20% of premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in the Region are thought to be caused by cancer, resulting in approximately 4.7 million deaths annually.

Meanwhile over two-thirds of the people diagnosed with cancer died from the disease, and cancer of the lungs, breast, and cervix accounted for 400000 of the total number of cancer-related deaths in the Region in 2020, she further stated.

The region has increased its focus on eliminating cervical cancer as a public health issue since 2014, when it increased its efforts to prevent, detect, treat, and control cancer. Population-based cancer registries (PCBRs) are currently in place in eight of the Region’s nations, and Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka are the focus nations for the fight against childhood cancer. The statement says that nine of the Region’s 11 Member States also offer radiotherapy services, and ten of them provide tertiary care for cancer diagnosis and treatment, including services like surgery and chemotherapy.

In addition, the statement stated that the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to assist countries in the Region in implementing its new Regional Action Plan on Oral Health 2022-2030, which includes oral cancers, which accounted for 7.4% of all new cancer cases in 2020 and were among the top five most common types. Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand are the five countries in the Region with national cancer control plans. Nepal and the Maldives are finishing up their plans. The WHO NCD Global Action Plan’s goal of a 30% relative reduction in tobacco use prevalence between 2010 and 2025 is currently being met by the Region.

However, the region is making rapid, life-saving progress on cervical cancer. Bhutan, the Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand are the five Member States that have implemented nationwide HPV vaccination & Bangladesh, India, and Timor-Leste are also planning to do so.

Tens of millions of girls in Indonesia have received the HPV vaccination, which is now available in several provinces. According to the statement, “new evidence shows that a single dose of HPV vaccine delivers protection comparable to the 2-dose schedule, which should enable countries to reach every woman and girl” in addition to reducing costs.