Scientifically, cancer is defined as the uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells, spreading beyond their usual boundaries and sometimes invading into adjoining parts and organs of the body – a process known as metastasis. Socially, cancer is a disease more often defined by fear and stigma. This is understandable given the frightening statistics on cancer incidence, the agonizing treatments, and the soaring mortality rate of this disease; however, social misconceptions about cancer are a barrier to effective cancer control.
The goals of World Cancer Day (WCD), celebrated annually on February 4, are to establish better access to cancer diagnosis and treatment for all patients, and to provide supportive and palliative care, and rehabilitation services to patients and cancer survivors. Untrained personnel are a fundamental obstacle in the less developed parts of the world – where approximately 70% of cancer deaths occur1– while diagnostic delays and poor access to treatment are global challenges. WCD aims to dissolve all social myths surrounding cancer – by promoting awareness about risk factors, preventive measures and early detections, showing support and raising our personal and collective voices. Thus, cancer incidence and mortality rates can be significantly reduced.
Globally, 1 in 5 men and 1 in 6 women develop cancer during their lifetime, with 1 in 8 men and 1 in 11 women dying from the disease2. According to recent World Health Organization data, there were 9.6 million deaths attributable to cancer in 20182. By 2030, cancer deaths per year are projected to rise to 13 million3. These numbers could be dramatically smaller, given how one third of all cancers are preventable, and numerous cancers could be cured if diagnosed early1,3. Making a conscious effort to limit risk factors contributing to cancer and knowing the warning signs of cancer is vital for efficient prevention and favorable treatment.
Tobacco plays a pivotal role in cancer, as it’s responsible for 22% of all cancer deaths4. Amongst others, tobacco is linked with cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx, pancreas, stomach and kidney. Second-hand smoke can also cause lung cancer. Physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and obesity raise the risk of esophagus, breast, colorectal, endometrium and kidney cancers, whereas a healthy, balanced diet can have protective effects. Moreover, high alcohol consumption is an important risk factor for cancers of the oral cavity, liver, esophagus, colorectal and breast. In 2010, there were over 300,000 alcohol-attributable cancer deaths5. Viruses, such as HPV, Hep B and Hep C are also responsible for a high number of cancers. Two-thirds of infection-attributable cancers – amounting to nearly 1.4 million people – occur in less-developed countries5. Vaccination against infectious agents can significantly reduce the risk of liver and cervical cancers, resulting in over 1 million less deaths6. Additionally, environmental pollution, occupational carcinogens and inappropriate radiation use can increase cancer risk. Reducing air pollution, and simple acts like applying sunscreen and avoiding excessive sun exposure can reduce chances of developing cancers of the lung and bladder, mesothelioma and leukemia. By avoiding or limiting these risk factors, cancer incidence can fall by 30-50%5.
Detecting cancer signs and symptoms promptly is important to avoid diagnostic delays. If a cancer is detected early – when it’s still small and hasn’t metastasized to other organs yet – chances of successful treatment are better. Some of the signs include unexpected weight loss, fatigue, pain and skin changes, with different cancers having more specific symptoms. Reliable screening programs, that can detect the disease early – ideally before the onset of symptoms – could play an integral part in early detection, improved treatment, and survival rates. Common screening tests are the PAP test for cervical cancer, mammogram for breast cancer, and colonoscopy for colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, most screening tests don’t have high sensitivity. Moreover, certain cancers like liver, stomach or pancreas currently do not have screening tests. Consequently, tissue biopsies – which are invasive, expensive and painful – are currently the main detection method of cancers.
Hence, an area of particular excitement in the cancer field is the liquid biopsy test – a blood test that can tell you whether there is a raised risk of cancer in the body along with the location of the cancerous site. Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) is released into the bloodstream from cancerous cells and tumors. This ctDNA varies from ‘normal’ DNA as it has acquired genetic mutations (alterations) due to the tumor. Importantly, ctDNA levels vary depending on tumor type, location and cancer stage. Therefore, it is possible to detect the presence of ctDNA in the bloodstream, check whether the cancer has metastasized and guide tumor-specific treatment according to the properties of each cancer. Another benefit of this advancement is that because it is a simple, painless blood test, it can be performed at various stages during treatment to evaluate the effectiveness of therapy depending on the ctDNA amount and monitor the patient’s remission.
Today, we know more about cancer than ever before. We know that by raising awareness and support, and by investing in research and innovation, extraordinary breakthroughs can occur. Breakthroughs that improve cancer prevention and diagnosis rates, increase the progress of care and treatment and empower all of us – cancer survivors, family and friends – to stand up to cancer.
World Health Organization (2018). ‘Key Facts’, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer
World Health Organization Press Release (2018). ‘Latest global cancer data: Cancer burden rises to 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million cancer deaths in 2008’. International Agency for Research on Cancer.
GBD 2015 Risk Factors Collaborators. (2016) ‘Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks, 1990-2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study’. Lancet. Oct; 388 (10053):1659-1724.
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You may contact NIPD Genetics Public Company Ltd at NIPD Genetics Public Company Ltd Neas Engomis 31 Engomi, Nicosia 2409, Cyprus
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Type of personal information NIPD Genetics may collect through its Sites
The ways by which NIPD Genetics collects, uses or shares such information
Steps NIPD Genetics takes to protect its sites’ users personal information
This page informs you of our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of personal data when you use our Sites and the choices you have associated with that data.
Type of personal information NIPD Genetics may collect through its Sites
Information Collection And Use
We collect several different types of information for various purposes to provide and improve our Sites and services to you.
While using NIPD Genetics Sites, you may be asked to provide NIPD Genetics certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you ("Personal Information"). Personal Information that might be used to identify you includes, but is not limited to:
First name and last name
Address, State, Province, ZIP/Postal code, City
If you send us a query via our Contact us form, your email address, the content and any follow up emails are retained indefinitely.
Cookies and Usage Data
We may also collect information how the Sites are accessed and used ("Usage Data"). This Usage Data may include information such as your computer's Internet Protocol address (e.g. IP address), browser type, browser version, the pages of our Sites that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.
Tracking & Cookies Data
Cookies are files with small amount of data which may include an anonymous unique identifier. Cookies are sent to your browser from a website and stored on your device. Tracking technologies also used are beacons, tags, and scripts to collect and track information and to improve and analyze our Sites.
You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, if you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our Sites.
Examples of Cookies we use:
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www.nipd.com uses the collected data for various purposes:
To provide and maintain the Sites
To notify you about changes to our Sites
To allow you to participate in interactive features of our Sites when you choose to do so
To provide customer care and support
To provide analysis or valuable information so that we can improve the Sites
To monitor the usage of the Sites
To detect, prevent and address technical issues
Transfer of Data
Your information, including personal data, may be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of your province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from your jurisdiction.
If you are located outside Cyprus and choose to provide information to us, please note that we transfer the data, including personal data, to Cyprus and process it there.
Disclosure of Data
NIPD Genetics complies with the protection of personal data regulation and will not sale or trade your personal data.
NIPD Genetics may disclose your personal data in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to:
To comply with a legal obligation
To protect and defend the rights or property of www.nipd.com
To prevent or investigate possible wrongdoing in connection with the Sites
To protect the personal safety of users of the Sites or the public
To protect against legal liability
Security of Data
The security of your data is important to us, but remember that no method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage is 100% secure. While we strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect your Personal Data, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.
We may employ third party companies and individuals to facilitate, maintain or operate our Sites ("Service Providers"), to provide the SItes on our behalf, to perform service-related services or to assist us in analyzing how our Sites is used.
These third parties have access to your Personal Data only to perform these tasks on our behalf and are obligated not to disclose or use it for any other purpose.
We may use third-party Service Providers to monitor and analyze the use of our Sites.
Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Google uses the data collected to track and monitor the use of our Service. This data is shared with other Google services. Google may use the collected data to contextualize and personalize the ads of its own advertising network.
Access to your personal data, correction, deletion, and Opting Out
You have the right to review, update or delete any of your personal data by sending a request at NIPD Genetics Personal Data Officer firstname.lastname@example.org
Links to Other Sites
We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third-party sites or services.
Our Service does not address anyone under the age of 18 ("Children").
We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 18. If you are a parent or guardian and you are aware that your Children has provided us with Personal Data, please contact us. If we become aware that we have collected Personal Data from children without verification of parental consent, we take steps to remove that information from our servers.