Cancer – what the researchers are telling us.


Cancer –  the world’s Top Killer by 2010

WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer claims the Big “C” will overtake heart disease as the world’s top killer by 2010. By 2030,  global cancer cases and deaths should more than double the present figure.

Again the main culprit seems to be tobacco! Rising tobacco use in developing countries, particularly in China and India,  is identified to be a major reason for the shift. These two countries alone have 40 percent of the world’s smokers now.

By 2030, there could be 75 million people living with cancer around the world, a number that many health care systems are not equipped to handle.

“This is going to present an amazing problem at every level in every society worldwide,” said Peter Boyle, director of the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Boyle spoke at a news conference with officials from the American Cancer Society, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Cancer Institute of Mexico.

The “unprecedented” gathering of organizations is an attempt to draw attention to the global threat of cancer, which isn’t recognized as a major, growing health problem in some developing countries.

“Where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live,” said Hala Moddelmog, Komen’s chief executive.

The organizations are calling on governments to act, asking the U.S. to help fund cervical cancer vaccinations and to ratify an international tobacco control treaty.

Concerned about smoking’s impact on cancer rates in developing countries in the decades to come, the American Cancer Society also announced it will provide a smoking cessation counseling service in India.

“If we take action, we can keep the numbers from going where they would otherwise go,” said John Seffrin, the cancer society’s chief executive officer.

Other groups are also voicing support for more action.

“Cancer is one of the greatest untold health crises of the developing world,” said Dr. Douglas Blayney, president-elect of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

“Few are aware that cancer already kills more people in poor countries than HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined. And if current smoking trends continue, the problem will get significantly worse,” he said in a written statement.

On the Net:

The WHO’s IARC: http://www.iarc.fr

The American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org

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We, human beings, are sure a stubborn lot. Since CANCER started taking its toll, repeated warnings have been issued against the use of tobacco, but these warnings have been largely ignored. Today, the number of smokers have in fact increased. Are we so ill-willed that even death does not frightened us? Why are we so ready to ignore the stark reality of what the cancer victims have to go through? If we do not care about ourselves, do we not care for what our loved ones will have to go through if we were to be stricken with the disease? Are we so callous? Have we become so insensitive and heartless?

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Vitamins C & E – CHICAGO (AFP)

Vitamins C and E do not appear to reduce the risk of cancer, according to a pair of new studies which debunk earlier research suggesting supplements might provide some protection against the often deadly ailment.

Some 15,000 men aged 50 and older participated in the study, which included an eight-year follow-up period, but neither vitamin appeared to appreciably reduce their cancer risk, according to the studies appearing in the January 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The findings are disappointing news for the more than half of American adults take vitamin supplements — many in the hope of warding off illness.

They appear to refute earlier observational studies that linked use of vitamins E and C with reduced risk of certain forms of cancers, including cancer of the prostate.

One of the two studies — the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) — found that vitamin E or selenium supplements, whether taken alone or in combination, appear not to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

“It may be time to give up the idea that the protective influence of diet on prostate cancer risk can be emulated by isolated dietary molecules given alone or in combination to middle-aged and older men,” Peter Gann of the University of Illinois at Chicago reflected in a JAMA editorial.

SELECT researchers studied the supplements’ effects over seven years on some 35,533 men, aged 50 years or older.

The researchers said that “large-scale, randomized trials” still must be conducted on the use of vitamin supplements and cancer.

Until that next generation of trials, “physicians should not recommend selenium or vitamin E or any other antioxidant supplements to their patients for preventing prostate cancer,” said Gann.

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