Last Updated on June 2, 2019 at 9:30 AM
Health Watch
Highlights:
  • International Cancer Survivors Day is celebrated every year on the first Sunday of June
  • The 2019 theme is ‘A Celebration of Life’
  • It aims to celebrate the life of all the brave and courageous cancer survivors

"Time is shortening. But every day that I challenge this cancer and survive is a victory for me." Ingrid Bergman (Oscar Winning Actress)

These words of Ingrid Bergman captures the theme of this year's International Cancer Survivors Day. The day was first announced by Merril Hastings at the 2nd National Conference Meeting of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico on 20th November, 1987. The first National Cancer Survivors Day, which was then only confined to the US, was held on 5th June, 1988. Today it is an international event.
Celebrate and Support Cancer Survivors on International Cancer Survivors Day


Life of Cancer Survivors: Issues & Challenges

Although at the end of treatment, there may be relief for cancer survivors, but as the days go by, many issues and challenges may arise. Some of these are briefly highlighted below:

Strategies to Improve the Life of Cancer Survivors

  • Cancer Survivorship Programs: These programs are highly beneficial for cancer survivors and are available in the US. For example, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey has survivorship programs that provide long-term evaluation, support, and health education for cancer survivors
  • Cancer Funding: Funds should be raised through various ways and judiciously utilized for cancer prevention, research, education, advocacy and outreach programs
  • Access & Equity: Easy access to patient-centric healthcare services for cancer prevention and screening is very important. Barriers to access should be reduced for all individuals, especially the deprived, irrespective of gender, educational level, economic status, or social standing
  • Advocacy & Policy: Advocacy will help influence decision makers and policymakers to create and implement policies through survivor-friendly legislations to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors

Health Tips for Prevention of Cancer

  • Tobacco Use: Tobacco should be avoided at all costs. Approximately 90 percent of all lung cancers occur due to smoking
  • Sunlight Exposure: Exposure to direct sunlight should be avoided. The ultraviolet (UV) rays present in sunlight are responsible for many types of skin cancer
  • Diet: A healthy diet with lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grains is recommended. Red meat and processed meat should be avoided. Alcohol consumption should be limited
  • Physical Activity: Physical activity helps to maintain a healthy weight. At least 30 minutes of physical activity is recommended for improving general health and well-being. Adequate exercise helps to reduce stress, increase energy levels, boost immunity, and reduce chances of cancer
  • Safe Sex: Practicing safer sex and avoiding risky behaviors are very important as these can spread cancer-causing viral infections. For example, human papillomavirus (HPV) can spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) can also spread through unprotected sex 
  • Vaccination: Effective and safe vaccines are available against HPV and HBV. Vaccination against these viruses is very important. Both HPV and HBV can cause cancer - the former, primarily cervical cancer, while the latter, liver cancer. However, both can be prevented by vaccination
  • Screening: Regular cancer screening is vital for early detection of cancer, while it is still in the precancerous stage. Early detection significantly increases the chances of treatments being successful

Statistics on Cancer

  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide
  • 1 in 6 deaths globally are due to cancer
  • 17 million new cancer cases were reported worldwide in 2018
  • 9.6 million cancer deaths occurred worldwide in 2018
  • 70 percent of cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)
  • 25 percent of cancer cases in LMICs are due to HBV and HPV infections
  • 2.25 million people are living with cancer in India
  • 1.15 million new cancer cases are registered annually in India
  • 0.78 million cancer deaths occurred in India in 2018
  • Cancer incidence and mortality in India is highest in the north-eastern region
  • Risk of developing cancer before the age of 75 years is 9.81 percent for Indian men and 9.42 percent for Indian women
  • Risk of dying from cancer before the age of 75 years is 7.34 percent for Indian men and 6.28 percent for Indian women
  • In India, one woman dies from cervical cancer every 8 minutes
  • 33 percent cancer cases and 22 percent cancer deaths worldwide are due to tobacco use
  • 3,500 tobacco-related deaths occur every day in India
  • 50 percent of cancer cases and 50 percent of cancer deaths are preventable
  • Global annual economic cost of cancer in 2010 was USD 1.16 trillion

Top Five Cancers in India

The top 5 cancers in Indian men and women, accounting for 47.2 percent of all cancers, are presented below:


Rank

Men

Women

1

Lip and oral cavity

Breast

2

Lungs

Lip and oral cavity

3

Stomach

Cervix

4

Colorectal

Lungs

5

Esophagus

Gastric

Statistics on Cancer Survivors

  • 67 percent of current cancer survivors were diagnosed 5 or more years ago
  • 17 percent of current cancer survivors were diagnosed 20 or more years ago
  • 47 percent of current cancer survivors are aged 70 years or above
  • Highest number of cancer survivors (23%) among women had breast cancer
  • Second highest number of cancer survivors (21%) among men had prostate cancer
So, on International Cancer Survivors Day, let's all come together to salute and honor all those brave cancer survivors and make people aware of their daily challenges of cancer survivorship. But most of all, let's celebrate life!

References :
  1. National Cancer Survivors Day®  - (https://www.ncsd.org/)
  2. National Cancer Survivors Day - Prevent Cancer Foundation, USA - (https://preventcancer.org/event/national-cancer-survivors-day/)
  3. What is Survivorship? - Cancer.Net - (https://www.cancer.net/survivorship/what-survivorship)
  4. Cancer Statistics - India Against Cancer - (http://cancerindia.org.in/cancer-statistics/)
  5. Three-Year Report of Population Based Cancer Registries (2009-2011), National Cancer Registry Programme, National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) - (https://www.icmr.nic.in/sites/default/files/reports/Preliminary_Pages_web.pdf)
  6. Worldwide Cancer Statistics - Cancer Research UK - (https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/worldwide-cancer)
  7. Cancer: Key Facts - World Health Organization - (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer)
  8. Clinical Programs of the Center for Cancer Survivorship - Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, USA  - (https://www.cinj.org/survivorship)


Source: Medindia

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