Did you know that cancer is the leading cause of death globally? Statista states that lung cancer caused 1.79 million deaths worldwide in 2020. The second most deadly form of cancer is colon cancer, followed by stomach and liver cancer.

What is cancer?

According to an article by Healthline, cancer is a group of diseases brought on by abnormal cells dividing rapidly. Tumours can be caused by these abnormal cells spreading to other tissues and organs. Almost 1 in 6 deaths in 2020 was caused by cancer, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

What causes cancer?

Research by the World Health Organisation suggests that cancer is caused when normal cells transform into tumour cells over a multi-stage process that progresses from a pre-cancerous lesion to a malignant tumour. Risks for certain cancers increase with age as our cells become less able to repair themselves as we grow older. 

What are the risk factors that contribute to the cause of cancer?

  •       The use of tobacco
  •       High alcohol consumption
  •       An unhealthy diet (red and processed meat, sugary drinks, and salty snacks.)
  •       A lack of physical activity
  •     Extended exposure to air pollution
  •       Extended exposure to radiation
  •       Extended exposure to UV light, such as sunlight

Why is early detection critical?

Early detection is crucial when treating cancer; early detection means finding cancer in the early stages, which can increase the effectiveness of treatment and lower the mortality rate.

If you have a family history of cancer or have a high risk of developing cancer, it is important to look out for early signs and go consult a doctor if you are worried. 

Possible signs of cancer?

  •       Lumps or growths on the body
  •       Unexplained weight loss
  •       Fever
  •       Tiredness and fatigue
  •       Pain
  •       Night sweats
  •       Changes in digestion
  •       Changes in skin
  •       Cough

Specific types of cancer often have their warning signs. If you are experiencing unexplainable symptoms, you should contact a doctor for a diagnosis.


The combination of cancer treatments removes or destroys as many cancerous cells as possible.

The most common types of treatment are:

SurgeryRemoves as much of the cancer as possible. Surgery is often used in combination with other treatments to ensure all the cancer cells get destroyed.

ChemotherapyA form of aggressive cancer treatment that uses medications that are toxic to cells to kill rapidly dividing cancer cells.

Radiation therapy – Uses powerful, focused radiation beams to kill cancer cells.

Stem cell (bone marrow) transplant  –  Repairs the bone marrow with healthy stem cells. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can have a variety of functions. These transplants allow doctors to use higher doses of chemotherapy to treat cancer.

Immunotherapy (biological therapy)Uses your body’s immune system to attack cancer cells. It helps your antibodies recognise cancer, so they can use your body’s natural defences to destroy cancer cells.

Hormone therapy – Removes or blocks hormones that fuel certain cancers to stop cancer cells from growing.

Targeted drug therapyUses drugs to interfere with specific molecules that help cancer cells grow and survive. Genetic testing may reveal if you are eligible for this type of therapy.

Clinical trialsInvestigate new ways to treat cancer, which may include testing the effectiveness of drugs that have already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but for other purposes. It can also involve trying new medications. Clinical trials can offer another option for people who may not have seen the level of success they wanted with conventional treatments. In some cases, the medicine may be provided for free.

Tell us: Prevention is better than cure – how do you aim to decrease your risk of getting cancer?