Photograph: worldcancerday.org
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Every year, 4th of February is a global initiative which unites the world’s population in the fight against cancer.

World Cancer Day is celebrated under the supervision of Union for International Cancer Control and other leading health organizations to take a positive and proactive approach to the fight against cancer, highlighting that solutions do exist and that they are within our reach.

The campaign promotes some new programs which help raising people’s awareness in the areas of cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and care.

Taking place under the tagline “We can. I can”, the event explores what everyone as a collective or as individuals can do to reduce the global burden of cancer.

Indeed, cancer is a leading cause of death around the world according to the World Health Organization, and one of the main concerns in modern healthcare.

Therefore, this particular Day is an opportunity to pause and reflect on progress, but also focus on the challenges ahead. It is a chance to appraise on what you can do, make a pledge and take action.

To encourage not only organisations and corporations but also individuals, the Union for International Cancer Control has launched a social media campaign named “Talking Hands” to raise awareness all over the world.

Together we can all do something to reduce the impact of this devastating disease.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease that occurs when changes in a group of normal cells within the body lead to uncontrolled growth, causing a lump called a tumour.

If left untreated, tumours can grow and spread into the surrounding normal tissue, or to other parts of the body via the bloodstream and lymphatic systems and can affect the digestive, nervous and circulatory systems.

Is cancer genetic?

Our genes pick up “mistakes” that occur when cells divide.

They are caused by the natural process in our cells and by various other factors. The cell no longer understands its instructions and starts to multiply out of control.

These mistakes are called faults or mutations and happen throughout our lives. Some of these mutations are variants can cause a disease.

Cancer can also be the result of a genetic predisposition that is inherited from family members. It is possible to be born with certain genetic mutations or a fault in gene that increases the risk of developing particular types of cancer.

However, having a genetic variant does not mean that a person will definitely get cancer.

Ability to understand the genetic basis of cancer has rapidly accelerated over the last ten years and now scientists have the capability to decode cancer on an unprecedented scale.

Human genome mapping has provided an unparalleled opportunity to advance our comprehension of the role of genetic factors in human health and disease.

Impact of science and technology has shifted the paradigm of clinical genetics towards an era of predictive and personalized medicine.

In fact, predictive medicine aims to identify patients at risk of developing a disease before it occurs, thereby enabling either prevention or early treatment.

Breast cancer is currently the most lethal malignancy in women across the world and the most common cancer in Europe with growing incidence rates.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common malignancy in women across Europe.

BRCA1and BRCA2 mutations are determining risk factors leading to breast and/or ovarian cancer.

Genetic screening saves lives because it identifies mutation carriers earlier when preventive interventions could be most effective.

Many women with variants in BRCA genes would not be identified until they develop cancer because standard diagnosis only identifies currently present changes in the tissue.

If you are interested in the subject, Genoma offers Serenity, the new-generation test that screens the entire coding regions of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and requires only a DNA sample collected by buccal swab.

The survival rate for both ovarian and breast cancer increases dramatically when caught at an earlier and more treatable stage.