World Cancer Day
Every year the 4th of February is observed as World Cancer Day. Organised by the Union for International Cancer Control(UICC), its theme this year is “I Am and I Will”. World Cancer Day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease.” Raising awareness and removing the stigmas associated with cancer all around the world, bringing together people and governments and all other stakeholders, the aim is to prevent the number of fatalities caused by cancer every year. It is stated that approximately 10 million people die from cancer each year (more than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined). These figures are slated to rise to upwards of 13 million deaths per year by 2030 if we don’t act now.
The “I am and I Will” campaign began in 2019 as a three year plan so this year is the midway point. The campaign urges individuals to empower themselves and others by raising awareness about cancer in order to achieve a systemic change is people’s perceptions about cancer. Raising literacy and enabling discourse can go a long way in helping reduce cancer mortality globally. The UICC states that more than a third of cancer cases can be prevented and another third can be cured if detected early: that’s two thirds less mortality just through awareness and timely detection. The worst affected geographical areas are the least developed; 65% of cancer deaths occur in the poorest and least developed parts of the world ; the cost is literally unbearable. Despite the fact that we know more about cancer now than we’ve ever known before, medical breakthroughs, novel methods of treatment, we are still losing a fight against cancer. Equal treatment opportunities can significantly lower cancer occurrence and mortality. Over the years many agencies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) have taken greater cognisance of cancer as a major disease across the world and are constantly in dialogue with all member states of United Nations, leaders are paying greater focus and emphasis on cancer and how the world can come together to lessen the significant burden it takes on people globally.
The first World Cancer Day was observed in 2000, as a means to bring people together to face one of the biggest challenges the world has faced in its entire history. Each year thousands of people, in schools, offices, hospitals, government offices, on social media, community halls etc. come together and partake in activities that raise awareness. People can visit uicc.org where an interactive option of how much time can a person afford to raising awareness is given, it ranges from “a hot second” to “5 minutes and more” based on selection of time, a number of suggestions are given to visitors. These range from social media posts to holding awareness workshops. Remember, it does not matter how large or small a contribution each of us make, they’re all invaluable as they can go some distance in saving lives.