The World Cancer
Declaration 2013 aims at reducing deaths from cancer, improving quality of life
for people with cancer and increasing cancer survival rates by the year 2025.
Theme of World Cancer Day
This year the
theme of WCD is "Not Beyond Us" meaning cancer
is a disease we can all beat. WCD 2015 theme
calls for a positive and proactive approach to fight cancer. The theme
highlights solutions to beat cancer are available and well within our reach.
WCD is a day to
mark the grit and courage shown by people fighting cancer. It is a day to
remind all those survivors that cancer can be beaten. A day to celebrate the
life of every survivor as these people has shown us the way to hope.
WCD 2015 hopes
to make people more aware about prevention and early diagnosis. The importance
of early diagnosis cannot be stressed enough. An early diagnosis is half the
problem solved because timely treatment means better prognosis. The WCD
campaign is an opportunity to bring together individuals, communities, health
care providers and governments to work together to evolve positive solutions.
The WCD campaign 2015 involves four key areas
- Choosing healthy
- Delivering early
treatment for all
- Maximizing quality
Importance of World Cancer Day
Over 8.2 million
people worldwide die of cancer every year of which 4 million people are in the
age group 30-69 years. Cancer is now a rising global epidemic. Environments and
lifestyles pose increased cancer risk to global communities.
There is an
urgent need for a global action plan to develop viable strategies to address cancer risk
and accessible treatment.
The disparities among communities in their access to early detection, treatment
and palliatives also need urgent address. WCD is an opportunity to raise the
issue globally through world media to sensitise and make people and governments
more aware. WCD expresses the collective responsibility of all global communities
in supporting low- and middle-income countries who continue to deal with the
burden of cancer with limited resources.
Prevention is better than Cure
one-third of all cancers are preventable according to the World Health
Organization (WHO). Prevention is the best strategy to address the burden of
cancer. WHO lists out 7 preventive measures to minimize the cancer risk:
1. Avoid tobacco
- Tobacco is
responsible for nearly 22% of cancer deaths every year. Using tobacco in any
form (chewing or smoking cigarettes) can cause cancers in the lung, oesophagus
(food pipe), larynx (voice box), mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas,
stomach and cervix.
2. Eat healthy and be physically active
- Choose a healthy diet by going low on red meat, processed foods and salt.
Choose to include a range of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. A high-fibre diet
can minimize the risk of stomach and colorectal cancers. Maintain a healthy body weight and remain physically active to stay fit.
3. Alcohol use
alcohol use is responsible for many cancers like liver, colorectal and breast.
Cut down on heavy drinking and choose to go moderate on alcohol.
- Infective agents
cause nearly 22% of cancer deaths in the developing nations and 6% in developed
nations each year. Viral hepatitis B and C causes liver cancer, the human
papilloma virus (HPV) causes cervical cancer and the bacterium Helicobacter
pylori increases the risk of
. Preventive measures include regular
vaccination against viral hepatitis B and C and HPV.
5. Environmental pollution
Carcinogenic pollutants in the air, water and soil account of 1-4% of all
cancers. Individuals, communities and governments need to take on the
responsibility of ensuring carcinogen-free environments to minimize cancer risk.
6. Occupational carcinogens
Working with hazardous chemicals and materials like asbestos increase the risk
of cancer. Carcinogens in paint usually cause nasopharyngeal cancer. Asbestos
exposure is linked to skin cancer. Avoiding exposures to such carcinogens is
essential to minimize the risk of cancer.
radiation (x-rays) and UV (ultraviolet) radiation exposure
increases the risk from cancer. Minimizing x-ray overexposure and using
protective sunscreens from solar radiation are effective preventive measures.
Not Beyond Us
"cancer" is dreaded by everybody. The 'Big C' as it is called is one of the
most feared diseases with little hopes of cure. However, there are examples to
show that cancer is not beyond us and early diagnosis along with timely
treatments have offered great hope to people. We have examples of gritty
survivors in our own country who have proved to us that cancer cannot stop
life. Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh beat germ cell cancer to once again take up
the bat and play on field. Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala was diagnosed with
ovarian cancer. After surgery and intensive chemotherapy, the actress has
many of us have seen family members, friends and
acquaintances battle against cancer. While we have seen some succumb, we have
also seen many beat the disease and make it. Those who survived to tell the
tale emphasize the need for early detection and treatment which makes it
possible to avoid recurrence. Many cancers are fully curable if diagnosed and
treated on time.
Cancer need not be a death sentence if
communities have access to the right diagnosis and treatment. Accessible
treatment, a positive outlook and a measure of determination can beat cancer
out of its own game. The theme of World Cancer Day 2015 rightly stresses on the
need to take a positive and proactive approach in beating cancer. Yes. Cancer
is Not Beyond Us!