The World Healthy Organization (WHO) recently stated on its website that approximately 8.8 million people die from cancer every year, according to up-to-date research. The announcement came on World Cancer Day (February 4th) and serves as a stark reminder of the seriousness of this disease, and the impact it is still having all over the world.
WHO also highlighted the fact that the majority of these deaths took place in relatively poorer countries, which is further proof that access to adequate healthcare goes a long way when it comes to the treatment of cancer. Early diagnosis is accepted as by far the most effective method for dealing with the disease and minimising the risk of it becoming terminal.
Most forms of cancer are treatable and curable in the early stages. Guidelines are provided by WHO for health providers around the world in an effort to improve cancer diagnosis rates at this critical stage and to help deliver the appropriate treatments. Taking action early dramatically improves life expectancy and is also less expensive in the long run, meaning more funds are available to help people with more severe and life-threatening forms of cancer.
Collectively, we are always making progress in this field and treatments are always becoming more advanced. At the moment, several potential breakthroughs are still on the horizon but not quite within reach, so it is difficult to predict what will happen to the worldwide mortality rate for cancer over the coming years and decades.
What we do know is that a number of new methods are currently being trialled. For example, immunotherapy has been an area that many leading researchers have been focusing on for some time. In 2016, genetically engineered white blood cells helped a number of patients recover from terminal leukaemia, having been given only weeks to live before the experimental treatment. However, some patients suffered severe side effects and there were two deaths as a result of the procedure, meaning a mainstream application of this concept is still not likely for some time.