World Cancer Day is annually observed on February 4 to spread awareness, bring change and reduce the stigma related to the disease. Cancer is the second leading cause of global death. This international day is a ‘global uniting initiative’ led by the Union of International Cancer Control (UICC) and is meant to encourage the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer as early as possible.
The objective behind celebrating World Cancer Day is to reduce misunderstandings about cancer and provide people with the right information about it, offering a chance to make life better for cancer patients and survivors.
World Cancer Day has been witnessed since 2000, after it was first established at the World Cancer Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium in Paris on 4th February. On February 4, ‘Charter of Paris Against Cancer’ was signed by the General Director of UNESCO and then French President.
World Cancer Day 2021: Theme
Themes for World Cancer Day are picked after keeping certain agenda in mind so that it would align with the campaign and reach out to people. Since 2019, the theme for this day has remained ‘I Am and I Will’. It is a multi-layer campaign that focuses on the community as a whole and steps individuals can adopt towards decreasing the global impact of the disease. The theme also represents empowering the cancer patients with bringing positivity in their life. It focuses on the motto - “together, all our actions matter”.
According to the World Cancer Day website, “the primary goal is to focus on positive actions to reach the ‘target of reducing the number of premature deaths from cancer and non-communicable diseases by 1/3 by 2030.”
The World Cancer Day is targeted at reducing the impact of the global impact the disease has and aims at providing positive support and aid to the cancer patients and survivors, through personal, collective and government actions. Many campaigns are organised to remove any misinformation, stigma and doubts relating to Cancer.
Global, coronavirus pandemic has harshly affected cancer patients in dealing with treatment. Expressing gratitude, the UICC has highlighted the issue and also thanked the medical workers like nurses, doctors, as well as researchers, volunteers, advocates and other caregivers in oncology from around the world for working tirelessly in treating the patients.
Professor Anil D’Cruz, the President of UICC and Director at Oncology Apollo Hospitals in India, said, “It appears quite certain that disruptions to cancer services in the past year will lead to diagnosis at later stages which in turn will translate into higher cancer-related mortality,” ensuring that the cancer community was working hard to alleviate the problem.
In India, most common kinds of cancer are lung, breast, cervical, stomach, head and neck and colorectal cancer (CRC). It is essential to understand each type of cancer and how it impacts the body. With the disease increasing rapidly, it is very crucial to provide people with correct information and healthcare facilities on time. The day aims that everyone is united with a common agenda to achieve a healthy and brighter world which is free of cancer.