World Cancer Day focuses on prevention

GENEVA, Switzerland, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Health groups are drawing attention to World Cancer Day and ways to prevent cancer, World Health Organization officials in Switzerland say.

In 2005, 7.6 million people died of cancer worldwide. Each year on Feb. 4, WHO supports the International Union Against Cancer and other groups to promote ways to ease the global burden of cancer.


This year's theme, focuses on simple measures to prevent cancer such as:

-- No tobacco use.

-- A healthy diet and regular exercise.

-- Limited alcohol use

-- Protection against cancer-causing infections.

Tobacco is the single largest preventable cause of cancer in the world. It causes 80 percent to 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths. Smoking also causes some 30 percent of all cancer deaths in developing countries, including deaths from cancer of the oral cavity, larynx, esophagus and stomach.

There is a link between overweight and obesity to many types of cancer, but diets high in fruits and vegetables may have a protective effect, while excess consumption of red and preserved meat increases colorectal cancer risk.

Regular physical activity and the maintenance of a healthy body weight will also reduce cancer risk.


Infectious agents are responsible for almost 22 percent of cancer deaths in the developing world and 6 percent in industrialized countries. Viral hepatitis B and C cause cancer of the liver; human papilloma virus infection causes cervical cancer and the bacterium Helicobacter pylori increases the risk of stomach cancer.

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