Home Current Affairs World Cancer Day: Significance, theme, and how to keep a check

World Cancer Day: Significance, theme, and how to keep a check

The main goal of World Cancer Day is to try to reduce illness and the deaths caused by cancer. This also acts as an opportunity to rally the international community to end the injustice of the preventable suffering from the deadly disease cancer. This is basically observed by the United Nations.

World Cancer Day is celebrated on February 4 to raise the awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection and treatment. This day is led by the Union for international Cancer Control to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration that was written in the year 2008.

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Significance of World Cancer Day

The main goal of this particular day is to try to reduce illness and the deaths caused by cancer. This also acts as an opportunity to rally the international community to end the injustice of the preventable suffering from the deadly disease cancer. This is basically observed by the United Nations.


How the day is celebrated

The main aim for the World Cancer Day is to target the misinformation which is abundantly available.

It raises awareness and even tries to reduce the stigma. Various initiatives are organized to show support for those who are affected by cancer. One such movement which was observed was “NoHairSelfie”. It was a global movement in which “hairticipants” shaved their heads either physically or virtually just to show it to be a symbol of courage for those who are fighting the battle with cancer and are undergoing the treatment for the disease. All the images of the participants were shared over the social media.

Image: RKalert

Theme of World Cancer Day over the years

In the year 2010-2011, the theme decided had been: “Cancer can be prevented”. In the next year it was: “Together let’s do something”. In the year 2013, the theme was: “Cancer Myths-Get the Facts”. “Debunk the Myths” was the theme in the year 2014. In 2015 the theme selected was “Not Beyond Us”.

In the year 2016, the World Cancer Day started a three year campaign which had the tagline “We can. I can” which tried to explore the power of individual actions as well as collective to reduce the impact of cancer.

From 2019-2021 the theme shall be “I Am and I Will” which means is all about you and the commitment to act. And it further states that through the positive actions, together we can definitely reach the target of reducing the premature deaths caused from cancer by 2030.

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Tips shared by oncologists to prevent cancer

According to the reports of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2018 over 18 crore people all around the globe are affected by cancer, and 1 crore almost give up their lives and they leave their families behind. A WHO study states that one in 10 Indians are likely to develop cancer in their lifetime. Even though the technologies have advanced, the treatments have advanced, yet this data is definitely very alarming.

Some of the cancers in women can be tried to recognise through self-examination. Dr J.B. Sharma, HOD and a senior consultant, at Medical Oncology, Action Cancer Hospital stated: “Discussion in regard to women centric cancers should be more prioritized. According to a study, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in India, also cervical cancer contributes around 6-29 per cent of cancers in women in India. But at the same time, another study says that over 50,000 cervical cancer cases can be prevented in India by 2050. The regressive approach in our society also forces some of the women to ignore their plan and health concerns and lack of awareness leads them to such painful stages which can be very much prevented.”

Women should never ignore any mild or major lump in breasts or in armpits, nipple discharge apart from breast milk or anything unusual. They should be regular with BSE (Breast Self Examination). Especially, women after 40 years of age should go for timely breast screening. Also, irregular vaginal bleeding, abnormal discharge, are not to be ignored or taken lightly as these can be early warning signs of cervical cancer. Pap Smear tests, and HPV testing can majorly help in preventing cervical cancer which can be done after 35 years of age yearly. But most importantly, other family members should be sensitive towards female members of their family and help them with their tests and other health concerns.

There are some age-specific screening tests that can potentially save one at the pre-cancerous stage before developing cancer. Dr Indu Bansal, director and senior Consultant- Radiation Oncology, Narayana Hospital Gurugram shared the following points.

Also Read: National Cancer Awareness Day: Spreading the word across India

Image: RKalert

When people are of around 20 years of age:

  • Skin and testicular exam.
  • Pap smear after being sexually active.
  • Monthly self-examination of breasts.
  • In case, there is irregular bleeding, the USG pelvis can be checked to rule out the ovarian tumor.

When they are of 20-40 years of age:

  • Monthly testicular exams should be conducted for males and the skin examinations for any skin cancer for both sexes.
  • Liquid based pap smear which is to be done yearly for three years after attaining the age of 25 years.
  • MRI breast if BRCA mutation is tested positive.
  • Baseline PSA at the age of 45 if there is a family history of anyone having the prostate cancer.

If they are 50 years and above:

  • Annual mammogram should be checked till 55 years of age and then in every two years.
  • Should visit the doctors yearly for clinical breast examination.
  • PSA yearly after reaching the age of 50 for the males.
  • X-ray chest, USG whole abdomen yearly.
  • Stool occult for both the sexes should be examined on a yearly basis.
  • Cardiac check up is a must on a year basis.

Incase, if we see any sort of lump in any part of our body, one should immediately go for a check-up without any delay. If one continuously cough out blood, then he/she should go for a check-up. A consistent pain in the chest might be an indication that we need to see the doctor. And sometimes it is observed that vomiting and abnormal headaches are the signs of brain tumor so if we face these symptoms, we should rush to the doctor as soon as possible. These symptoms should be kept in mind and should be circulated among our family members so that if any one faces such difficulty they can be rushed to the hospital immediately.


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