National Cancer Awareness Day: Close the Care Gap
Cancer is a formidable adversary, affecting millions of lives across the globe. Every year, on the 7th of November, India observes National Cancer Awareness Day, a vital initiative that has been running since 2014. The primary goal is to raise awareness about the early detection, prevention, and treatment of cancer.
The Global Impact of Cancer
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, responsible for nearly one in six deaths. The statistics are staggering, and in 2020, the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) World Cancer Report, released by WHO, revealed a concerning fact: Asia accounts for 49.3% of the global cases of this deadly disease. What’s even more alarming is the projection that from 2020 to 2040, Asia will experience a staggering 59.2% increase in new cancer cases.
Cancer in India
For India, these statistics hit closer to home. The report indicates that one in 10 Indians will develop cancer in their lifetime, and one in 15 will lose their lives to it. Annually, India records approximately 1.1 million new cancer cases, a significant portion of which are diagnosed at advanced stages.
A Tribute to Early Detection
National Cancer Awareness Day, introduced by the Union Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, in September 2014, emphasizes the importance of early detection and treatment. This day serves as a reminder of the value of timely action.
Cancer is a complex group of diseases that can originate in almost any organ or tissue of the body. It involves abnormal cell growth that transcends the usual boundaries, invades nearby tissues, and can spread to other organs, a process known as metastasis, often the leading cause of death from cancer.
Common Types of Cancer:
In India, the most common types of cancer in men include lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach, and liver cancer. Among women, breast, colorectal, lung, cervical, and thyroid cancer top the list.
Root Causes of Cancer
Cancer is the result of normal cells transforming into tumor cells through a multi-stage process. Lifestyle factors play a significant role, with breast and colorectal cancers associated with obesity and low physical activity.
Preventing cancer is a collective effort, and WHO suggests several ways to lower the risk:
- Avoiding tobacco.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight.
- Following a nutritious diet, rich in fruits and vegetables.
- Regular physical activity.
- Reducing or avoiding alcohol consumption.
- Vaccination against HPV and hepatitis B.
- Minimizing exposure to ultraviolet radiation, including sunlight and artificial tanning devices.
- Ensuring safe and proper use of radiation in healthcare.
- Reducing exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution
National Cancer Awareness Day: Making a Difference
On this special day, healthcare organizations, government agencies, and non-profit groups unite to conduct awareness campaigns, seminars, and screenings. They work tirelessly to alleviate the burden of cancer nationwide.
Close the Care Gap in Our Fight Against Cancer
As we reflect on National Cancer Awareness Day and its 2023 theme, “Close the Care Gap,” we understand that the battle against cancer is not only about raising awareness; it’s about bridging the care gap to ensure that every individual, regardless of their circumstances, has access to timely care and information.
Cancer is a formidable enemy, but knowledge is our strongest weapon. National Cancer Awareness Day is a significant step towards a brighter, cancer-free future. As we stand together in this fight against the silent killer, let us remember that awareness is the first step, early detection is the lifeline, and prevention is the key to a world where cancer is no longer a silent threat. Let’s unite, raise our voices, and continue the battle against cancer with unwavering determination, working together to close the care gap.