Cancer – the word today is not surrounded by the hush-hush and stigma that it was subjected to years back. Just a few years ago, if someone around us was diagnosed with the disease, we were all walking on eggshells, given our lack of knowledge on the subject. Today, awareness regarding cancer has taken significant strides in the world. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. To consolidate global efforts against cancer and spread awareness regarding the disease, World cancer day was initiated on February 4, 2000, during the first summit on the fight against cancer in Paris.
World cancer day has now been observed globally every year. On this day, people across the globe come together to spread education and awareness regarding the topic of cancer. The combined theme of world cancer day 2022-2024 is ‘closing the care gap.’ Let us dive deeper into the significance of world cancer day and its theme.
Significance Of World Cancer Day
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in America and the leading cause of death globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 10 million people died from cancer in 2020. This translates into a staggering fact: every one in six deaths was caused by cancer.
Growing research, scientific breakthroughs in understanding the disease, and multiple new treatments – all these factors that should have reduced the burden of cancer on the population and the healthcare system have yielded no substantial results. The number of cases of cancer reported every year has continued to rise.
However, as per WHO, awareness and education can encourage several bright spots. 40% of cancer-related fatalities can be reduced or avoided. 30-50% of all types of cancer cases can be prevented. Therefore, increasing cancer awareness is the prime goal of the Union for International Cancer Control and several other global organizations. World cancer day serves as a yearly reminder of the importance of this goal.
What Does ‘Closing The Care Gap’ Mean?
The combined three-year theme of world cancer day 2022-24 is ‘closing the care gap.’ World cancer day is much more than just a day on the annual calendar. It is a day aimed at bringing or starting significant changes in the lives of people with cancer, their loved ones, and the global society. That is why a multi-year campaign theme translates into larger engagement, exposure, and means to encourage awareness.
Closing the care gap theme focuses on reducing and eventually eliminating the inequalities and inequities in the treatment and care provided to cancer patients worldwide. As per WHO, 70% of cancer-related deaths occur in underdeveloped countries. The theme aims to reduce such anomalies in cancer treatment and provide proper and adequate cancer care to patients of all nationalities, ethnicity, gender, caste, creed, income, etc.
Ways To Close The Care Gap
There are multiple ways to bridge the care gap among cancer patients around the world. They include the following:
1. Strengthening Diagnostic And Treatment Facilities
Early detection and proper treatment of patients can reduce the mortality rate among cancer patients and the burden of the already stretched healthcare system in third-world countries. Strengthening the existing care facilities and equipping them with the latest treatment technologies can help them handle the present caseloads.
2. Research, Advocacy, And Political Motivation
People facing a care deficit should become the center of research activities that aim to find solutions to bridge this gap. Marginalized communities should find representation in political decisions regarding the healthcare system. Advocacy campaigns for such communities will be helpful in putting forward their struggles.
3. Scaling up post-pandemic efforts
There is an increased need to scale up cancer programs at the international, national, and local levels. As per a report published by WHO in 2021, the pandemic has severely impacted the healthcare industry in almost half of the countries. Screening and treatment facilities in such countries have been partially or fully disrupted.
World cancer day has been marked every year on February 4 since 2000. It aims to spread awareness regarding the disease and bring about a global change in terms of diagnosis and treatment. This year’s theme is ‘closing the care gap’ and focuses on uniting different voices into action. With global collaboration and commitment, we can hope to provide proper access to cancer treatment to patients who have only dreamt of it in the past.
Now that you know of world cancer day, let us take you to another important day. Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Day is marked every year on June 21. To learn more about it, click here.
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