A day that defines survival – the face of equitable care!
To save innumerable preventable cancer deaths, world cancer day is celebrated every year on the 4th of February.
It is an initiative of the biggest and oldest cancer organization – Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and has been celebrated since 2000. The idea was adopted at the world summit against cancer for the new Millenium in Paris. The Paris charter aimed at promoting research and development to stop cancer and raising awareness against the identical.
The campaign is in alignment with the sustainable development goals
Union for international cancer control (UICC)
UICC is a could be a cancer agency of WHO that works for international collaboration on cancer studies. composed of 27 member countries, India being one – the agency is headquartered in Lyon, France. It had been created in 1965 with the resolution of the world health assembly.
Global cancer cases to rise by 60% in 2040: WHO report
As per WHO’s report, one in five people are at the danger of cancer and shall be diagnosed for the same once in their lifetime. The report warns that cancer cases would rise by 60% in 2040 and tobacco alone would be liable for 25% of deaths.
In India, tobacco-related cancer accounts for 34-69% of cancer in men 10-27% of cancer in women.
The need for awareness
Cancer causes 10 million deaths every year out of which 1/3rd are preventable if detected early and treated properly. More than half of the deaths caused by cancer occur within the least developed regions of the world. Raising awareness is an efficient tool for ensuring equitable access to cancer prevention and early diagnosis and treatment.
The disease: abnormal growth of cells
close-up of cancer cells
The disease occurs due to changes within a normal cell that lead to its abnormal growth. The cells begin to multiply rapidly hence forming a tumor. Every kind of cancer show this symptom apart from blood cancer or leukemia. untreated tumors can spread to other body parts through blood hence affecting normal body function.
The cancer tumor:
- Benign tumors: characterized by slow-growing cells that are rarely life-threatening. They do not travel to the other body parts and look similar to the normal cells.
- Malignant tumors: characterized by their rapid growth, these tumors tend to destroy their neighboring cells break off from their point of origin, and spread to the other body parts.
- Pre-malignant tumors: these tumors are those that are likely to grow into cancer
Origin based classification
- Carcinoma – arising from epithelial cells
- Sarcoma- the tumor of bones and soft tissues
- Myeloma- grows within the cells of the immune system
- Leukemia- cancer of white blood cells and bone marrow
- Brain and spinal cord cancers – central nervous system cancers
The major causes of cancer:
The use of tobacco alone accounts for fifteen different types of cancer! Alcohol is linked with an increased risk of cancers and exposure to UV rays is also a potential cause for cancers especially skin cancers.
Apart from this, cancer-causing agents – carcinogens are the substances that increase the possibilities of cancer. People with weak immunity are more susceptible to the disease.
Symptoms of cancer:
Unusual lumps or swellings, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, heavy night sweats, changes in bowel movement, problems with urination, and unusual breast changes are often cited as the symptoms of cancer.
The void in cancer care:
Inequity in health services leaves a large section of the population untouched. This disadvantaged section remains undiagnosed due to a lack of access to proper services.
Health equity could be a burning issue when it comes to cancer because we don’t simply fight cancer we fight the myths and misinformation regarding the same.
Cancer doesn’t come alone, it comes with all varities of fear and insecurities. Social stereotypes add more to the same.
Creating mass awareness is indeed an efficient way to tackle the stigma that surrounds the disease. Stepping up cancer literacy shall bring the right information into the limelight and help combat the disease through appropriate means.
World cancer day is thus an approach to bridge the gap in cancer care, a step towards health equity!