WORLD CANCER DAY: Feb 4
We all know how in the year 2020 thousands of lives were claimed by Covid-19, but there are some diseases which have been there since long and have caused much more pain and suffering. Cancer is one of them. To make people aware of the disease, we dedicate a specific day for it. As a student of medical science I feel it necessary to put forth my views on the same. So, I grabbed the opportunity to write on World Cancer Day, which is observed every year on February 4 to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment.
World Cancer Day is led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. The primary goal of World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer and is an opportunity to rally the international community to end the injustice of preventable suffering from cancer.
World Cancer Day targets misinformation, raises awareness, and reduces stigma. Multiple initiatives are run on World Cancer Day to show support for those affected by cancer. One of these movements are ‘No Hair Selfie’, a global movement to have “hairticipants” shave their heads either physically or virtually to show a symbol of courage for those undergoing cancer treatment. Images of participants are then shared all over social media. Hundreds of events around the world also take place.
Cancer awareness has become exceedingly important in the 21st century. While there have been numerous advancements in the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer, the number of new cancer cases diagnosed each year has globally continued to increase. There were 8.1 million new cases diagnosed in 1990, 10 million in 2000, 12.4 million in 2008, and 14.1 million in 2012. The number of annual deaths worldwide from cancer has also increased from 5.2 million people in 1990 to 8.2 million people in 2012 to an estimated 9.6 million in 2018. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), if the incidence of cancer continues to grow at the reported rate, the number of deaths worldwide from cancer will increase to more than 16.3 million by 2040. However, also according to WHO, as many as 40 percent of deaths from cancer are preventable. Therefore, raising awareness on cancer prevention has become a prominent goal of many cancer and health organisations around the world. World Cancer Day has come to represent an annual reaffirmation of the importance of this goal.
The UICC, an organisation dedicated to increasing global cancer awareness, coordinates World Cancer Day and is supported in this effort by WHO and other international organisations. World Cancer Day serves as a formal launching point for the declaration of new themes and the release of new publications for the UICC’s World Cancer Campaign, which functions throughout the year and strives to raise cancer awareness by forming partnerships with health and cancer institutions and by proposing educational activities and creating public service announcements. In honour of World Cancer Day, many health institutions and cancer centres make available on their websites various educational publications and materials about cancer and cancer prevention. In some places World Cancer Day is recognised with a parade or a local fund-raising event, such as a walk, a gala, a concert, or an auction. In addition, some countries air special television broadcasts or radio programmes about cancer during the week in which World Cancer Day occurs.
As more than 70 percent of deaths from cancer occur in economically less-developed countries, World Cancer Day and the World Cancer Campaign have become important mechanisms for drawing attention to cancer prevention and treatment in these countries.
Cancer is a fatal and life threatening disease which is a serious issue in the world. Many people died because of this painful disease and many are suffering from its pain. Cancer is a condition in which affected cells start uncontrolled division and gradually spread in over the body thus creating very serious illness and leaving the affected person in a very painful condition. Cancer was cure-less a few years ago and many people died due to this disease. Many years of research resulted in the introduction of some treatment methods for cancer. For example, chemotherapy is a very painful procedure of cancer treatment and radiotherapy is the use of radioactive rays to kill cancer cells. Still, this disease is an international issue, doctors and scientists are trying to find its ultimate solution.
So, let us all join our hands to support and show love to the patients undergoing the treatment of this fatal disease. I believe that the human spirit is much stronger than anything that can happen to it. On one hand let our medical experts treat cancer patients with their therapies and medicines, but on the other hand let us treat them with love, care and support. The former will help them get well physically while the latter will help get well emotionally.
The writer is a medical student at SRML Jammu. [email protected]