As of February 4th, 2024, cancer has claimed the lives of over 700,000 people worldwide, according to data released by Worldometer, a platform providing real-time statistics on various global issues. Within just 35 days into the year, cancer-related fatalities have totaled approximately 778,625 globally.
Worldometer’s data, sourced from the World Health Organization (WHO), reveals that today alone, at least 13,691 deaths attributed to cancer have been recorded worldwide. The statistics underscore the alarming prevalence and devastating impact of cancer on a global scale.
Cancer, characterized by the uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells, remains a significant public health challenge, ranking as the second leading cause of death globally. In 2018, an estimated 9.6 million people succumbed to cancer, constituting one in six deaths worldwide.
The most common types of cancer vary between genders, with lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach, and liver cancer prevalent among men, and breast, colorectal, lung, cervical, and thyroid cancer more common among women.
The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) predicts a concerning trend, projecting a substantial increase in new cancer cases globally, reaching 35 million by 2050—an alarming 77% rise from 2022 figures.
In Africa, where cancer poses a significant burden, approximately 882,882 new cancer cases and 573,653 deaths were reported in 2022. Without urgent interventions, cancer mortality in the region is forecasted to escalate to one million deaths annually by 2030.
Against this backdrop, World Cancer Day serves as a rallying point to raise awareness and advocate for action against cancer. The 2024 campaign, themed “Close the cancer gap,” emphasizes the imperative for leaders worldwide to prioritize and invest in cancer prevention and care, striving for a just and cancer-free world.
Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, emphasizes the critical role of leaders in ensuring equitable access to cancer prevention and care, including affordable technologies and therapies. She underscores the importance of robust information systems and collaborative efforts involving civil society organizations to address the cancer challenge effectively.
As the world commemorates World Cancer Day, the call to action resonates louder than ever: together, individuals, governments, and organizations must unite to confront the scourge of cancer and strive towards a healthier future for all.