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10 Facts about Cancer

  • There are more than 100 types of cancers; any part of the body can be affected.
  • In 2008, 7.6 million people died of cancer – 13% of all deaths worldwide.
  • About 70% of all cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Worldwide, the 5 most common types of cancer that kill men are (in order of frequency): lung, stomach, liver, colorectal and oesophagus.
  • Worldwide, the 5 most common types of cancer that kill women are (in the order of frequency): breast, lung, stomach, colorectal and cervical. In many developing countries, cervical cancer is the most common cancer.
  • Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of cancer in the world causing 22% of cancer deaths
  • One fifth of all cancers worldwide are caused by a chronic infection, for example human papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer and hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes liver cancer.
  • Cancers of major public health relevance such as breast, cervical and colorectal cancer can be cured if detected early and treated adequately.
  • All patients in need of pain relief could be helped if current knowledge about pain control and palliative care were applied.
  • More than 30% of cancer could be prevented, mainly by not using tobacco, having a healthy diet, being physically active and moderating the use of alcohol. In developing countries up to 20% of cancer deaths could be prevented by immunization against the infection of HBV and HPV.