One in two people will develop cancer at some point in their lives. Cancer has become the second-leading cause of death in the world, with 70% of cancer deaths occurring in low-to-middle income countries. Cancer also carries a heavy global economic toll estimated at $1.16 trillion per annum.
Cancer can be caused by a number of different risk factors. Whilst some risk factors cannot be controlled, such as age and genetics, around one third of cancer cases are preventable through reducing dietary, lifestyle and behavioural risks. These raise the need for effective actions through country-specific plans to reduce and prevent cancer, but unfortunately such programmes are disproportionately underfunded.
Incredible advancements in cancer screening, early detection and treatments mean that more patients with cancer are living longer. Yet, cancer survivors face physical and financial problems associated with cancer treatment as well as psychological and emotional burdens. Cancer recurrence is also a risk.
This year’s theme for World Cancer Day is “Close the Care Gap”. Half of the world’s population lacks access to essential health services, creating an equity gap based on socioeconomics, demographics, age, race, gender and disabilities. Disadvantaged groups are more likely to have increased exposures to modifiable risk factors, delayed diagnoses and limited access to the best cancer treatments and support.
In this spirit, the Editors of BMC Medicine are delighted to share with you a selection of key papers that highlight some of the most proactive research in cancer prevention, screening and control published in the journal, some of which highlight cancer research on underrepresented groups and address inequities to mark World Cancer Day 2022.