– by Nkosingiphile Ntshangase
On the 4th of February 2021, we raise awareness about World Cancer Day. The purpose of this day is to unite the world and relay one message about improving the education surrounding cancer and calling upon world leaders to continue in collectively taking political action towards the life-saving treatment of cancer. Holding governments accountable on policies, legislations, investment and innovation is key to progress.
This movement was established by the Union for International Cancer Control in 2000, in hopes of contributing towards a society that deems this life-threatening disease a thing of the past and making treatment accessible for all. The theme for 2021 is ‘I Am and I Will’, representing ownership of the movement and the commitment to raising cancer awareness through genuine information sharing. In doing this, the ultimate goal is being an agent of change and acknowledging that everyone has the capacity to address the challenges surrounding cancer and its prevention. The pandemic has reminded us that when trying to attain bigger goals, there is power in teamwork with collective action. If communities around the world unite for a cause, any challenge can be overcome.
According the World Cancer Day website, approximately 10 million people die each year from cancer, which is more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. By 2030, experts say cancer deaths will rise to 13 million if we don’t act now. By acting, we could detect cancer in its early stages by implementing appropriate strategies during this unparalleled era. This can make it easier to treat Cancer effectively, or even better, cure. There are various ways we can raise cancer awareness by sharing information about the prevention of cancers. According to WHO, 30-50% of cancers are preventable and educating people to take the appropriate measures and detect early signs is paramount. We can work together to reduce cancer risk factors leading to the reduction of pre-mature deaths. Through educating the public and helping them gain a better understanding around cancer, the stigma and fear attached could be reduced thus leading to changed attitudes. We need to encourage governments and organisations to invest more in prevention, research, and treatment, and to promotes access to treatment for all.
How can you raise awareness on World Cancer Day?
- Share information on how to support cancer awareness on social media.
- Having well-informed discussions with friends, family, and co-workers about cancer prevention.
- Holding online events with informative and meaningful discourse.
- Making donations to organisations such as CANSA, CHOC and the Care for Cancer Foundation.
- Stay updated about cancer awareness by visiting the World Cancer Day website.