World Cancer Day is celebrated every year on February 4th with the intention to ensure people living with cancer are not forgotten.
In the world, every minute 17 people surrender their life to cancer, 6% of world cancer deaths are from India and it is the second commonest cause of death after heart disease. Earlier 1 out of every 5th cancer patient in the world was an Indian, now 1 out of every 4 is a cancer patient from India.
World Cancer Day has grown into a global movement that empowers and unites the world’s voice against cancer, a strong verbal theme that promotes and focuses the common message “I Am and I Will”.
This reiterates the message that whoever we are, our own actions can make a difference and reduce the risk of cancer. It offers an open invitation to all to make a personal commitment to achieving healthy habits. About half of all cancers can be prevented through healthy living, such as eating more vegetables, fruit, and fiber, moving more and sitting less, maintaining healthy body weight, no smoking, and less consumption of alcohol.
It is sad to see such broad misconceptions about Cancer in the society – ‘Cancer Kills Suddenly’, ‘Cancer equals to death’, ‘Cancer is Incurable, ‘Cancer spreads from person to person’ etc. Cancer of-course does change all aspects of life, including family emotions, economical burden, and responsibilities but the question is – is it always true?? Is the diagnosis of cancer always the last call in life?
A big ‘NO’ – for the above aspects may put you in doubt or surprise you, but that is the truth. This all varies according to disease types and stage.
Hence comes the significance of “World Cancer Day” to raise awareness, educate people about cancer and encourage early-stage cancer detection, screening, diagnosis with a primary goal to significantly reduce death and illness caused by the dreaded disease.
On the 20th anniversary of World Cancer Day, we as a global community should raise our voice to stand up for a world where millions of preventable cancer deaths are saved and access to life-saving cancer care is equal to all.
By: Dr. Ranjith Kumar (Hemato Oncology, American Oncology Institute)