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The East African : Feb 14th 2015
32 The EastAfrican OUTLOOK FEBRUARY 14-20,2015 S CI E N C E Govts urged on laws to control cancer P≥evention is said to be the most coste≠ective st≥ategy to cont≥ol of the disease By CHRISTABEL LIGAMI Special Correspondent W ith the economic cost of treating and managing cancer esti- mated to reach $1.16 trillion, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) wants governments to urgently focus on prevention. It says national policies should be used to create awareness on how regular physical activity, a healthy body weight and a healthy diet considerably reduce cancer risk. “At least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable. Prevention offers the most cost-effective longterm strategy for the control of cancer,” says the report. The report notes that access to ef- fective and affordable cancer treatments in developing countries, including for childhood cancers, can significantly reduce mortality, even in settings where health-care services are less well developed. Other actions crucial to can- cer control include preventing the spread of tobacco use in low-and middle-income countries as well as simple techniques for early detection and screening, such as the “screen and treat” programme in the case of cervical cancer in India and Costa Rica. “Governments must show politi- cal commitment to progressively step up the implementation of highquality screening and early detection programmes, which are an investment rather than a cost,” said Christopher Wild, director of IARC and co-editor of the report. Adequate legislation such as that envisaged under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control plays an important role in reducing exposure and risky behaviours. FACTS ON CANCER As a single entity, cancer is the biggest cause of mortality worldwide, there were an estimated 8.2 million deaths from cancer in 2012 The global growing cancer burden Cancer cases worldwide are forecast to rise by 75 per cent and reach close to 25 million over the next two decades 2012 Global cancer incidence over four years increased by 11 per cent * to an estimated 14.1 million cases in 2012 – equal to the population of India’s largest city (Mumbai). 2025 courage healthier behaviour as well as protect people from workplace hazards and environmental pollutants,” said Dr Wild. Low- and middle-income coun- tries should commit to enforcing such regulations. The report shows that more than 60 per cent of the world’s total cases of cancer occur in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. The regions also account for about 70 per cent of the world’s cancer deaths. In 2012, the report shows, the worldwide burden of cancer rose to an estimated 14 million new cases per year, a figure expected to rise to 22 million annually within the next two decades. Over the same period, cancer deaths are predicted to rise from an estimated 8.2 million annually At least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable. Prevention offers the most costeffective long-term strategy for the control of cancer.” 14,100,000 | 8,200,000 New cases Cancer deaths 19,300,000 | 11,400,000 New cases Cancer deaths The most commonly diagnosed cancers worldwide IARC report to 13 million per year. Globally, in 2012, the most com- lung 1.83 million 13% *% of the total The framework aims to reduce smoking through taxes and advertising restrictions, and, the agency says, can be replicated to stem consumption of alcohol and sweet beverages as well as curb air pollution. Similar approaches also need to breast 1.68 million 11.9% colorectal 1.36 million 9.7% prostrate 1.1 million 7.1% stomach 952,000 6.8% liver 782,000 5.6% Source: 2012 WHO report be evaluated in other areas, notably consumption of alcohol and sugarsweetened beverages, and in limiting exposure to occupational and environmental carcinogenic risks, including air pollution. “Adequate legislation can en- mon cancers diagnosed were those of the lung (1.8 million cases, 13 per cent of the total), breast (1.7 million, 11.9 per cent), and large bowel (1.4 million, 9.7 per cent). The most common causes of cancer death were cancers of the lung (1.6 million, 19.4 per cent of the total), liver (0.8 million, 9.1 per cent), and stomach (0.7 million, 8.8 per cent). While many developing coun- tries grapple with high infectionrelated cancers like those of the cervix, liver, and stomach, effec- tive vaccination against hepatitis B virus and human papillomavirus can markedly reduce the incidence of the first two. Slight ≥ise in new cases shows Ebola still hanging on OFFICIALS FROM the United Nations and the WHO expressed concern Thursday over data showing the first weekly rise in new Ebola cases this year, countering the downward trend in the disease that has ravaged three West African nations. The 124 new cases — 39 in Guinea, five in Li- beria and 80 in Sierra Leone for the week ended February 1 — amounted to a relatively small increase from the 99 new cases the week before, and paled in comparison with the hundreds of new cases per week that traumatised those countries and alarmed the world in the later months of 2014. Since then, a global outpouring of money and resources has helped to severely limit what has been the worst Ebola outbreak in history, with more than 22,000 cases and nearly 9,000 deaths. Attention has refocused on trying to restore a semblance of normalcy in the three countries. However, the weekly increase in new cases, al- though small, was worrisome for a few reasons, said Dr Bruce Aylward, the World Health Organisation special representative on Ebola, and Dr David Nabarro, the UN special envoy on Ebola. Speaking at a joint news conference in Ge- neva that was posted on the health organisation’s website, they said some of the new cases in Guinea and Sierra Leone were patients who had not been on lists of people monitored for possible infection. These contact lists, used by epidemiologists, are a crucial part of the strategy to eradicate the disease. “Good progress is being made, but the out- break still presents a grave threat,” Dr Nabarro said. “We have to really work hard to get to what we call zero-zero — zero cases, zero transmissions.” Dr Aylward said some of the new cases had emerged in people who had traveled far from their original points of infection, presenting additional complications on how to track the people they might have infected and who now may be Ebola transmitters themselves. “Not only are we seeing slight increases in the virus but also seeing these long-distance movements, which are a challenge,” Dr Aylward said. The virus, he said, “has told us this week, loud and clear, ‘I am not going away the way you’re expecting me to.’” Both officials stressed that the increase came as the emergency funds donated to battle the epidemic were beginning to dwindle, and with just a few months before the start of West Africa’s rainy season. That will make identifying, isolating and treating patients even more difficult, especially in remote areas. New York Times News Service Travel safe during pregnancy. Pic: File Ingredient in chilli prevents weight gain Researchers at the University of Wyoming have discovered that adding capsaicin from chili peppers to a diet can help to prevent weight gain on a high-fat diet. They found that high-fat-diet obesity and dietary capsaicin — 0.01 per cent of capsaicin in the total high-fat diet — prevent high-fat-diet-induced weight gain. Dietary capsaicin induces browning of white adipose tissue and stimulates thermogenesis to counteract obesity. BRIEFS UK Ebola vaccine has ‘acceptable profile’ The first results from a trial of a candidate Ebola vaccine at Oxford University in the UK suggests the vaccine has an acceptable safety profile at the doses tested, and is able to generate an immune response. The results, they say suggest the vaccine is suitable for further testing in West Africa during the current outbreak. The candidate Ebola vaccine is being developed against the Zaire species of Ebola, which is the one circulating in West Africa. Migratory birds cause of global influenza virus Migratory birds may be spreading viruses that cause bird flu around the world, say scientists. Outbreaks in poultry may become more common in the future, especially in illprepared countries, they warn. The scientists at the Erasmus Medical Centrer in Rotterdam, Netherlands, say the presence of the H5 virus in a migratory bird in Russia and other detections in wild birds and poultry is “worrisome” and therefore wild birds on long migratory routes should be monitored closely, given that influenza viruses are generally unpredictable. Flying safe for pregnant women before 37 weeks The safest time to fly during pregnancy is within 37 weeks or, if carrying twins, before 32 weeks, a new advisory by yynaecologists and obstetricians from the Royal College says. They say flying is not harmful during a low-risk pregnancy, but there may be side-effects. After 37 weeks, a woman may go into labour at any time. Also, longhaul flights of four hours or more can increase the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, when a blood clot forms in the leg or pelvis, and pregnancy increases this risk even more.
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