World Cancer Day is an annual event and an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). The event has taken place on the 4th February every year since 2000. The theme for 2022 is ‘close the care gap’. Access to life-saving cancer diagnosis treatment and care should be equitable for all. Governments must be accountable and national leadership on policies, legislation, investment, and innovation is key to accelerating the progress.
The physical and emotional effects of cancer and its treatment may vary from person to person. Palliative care is holistic, and it can address a broad range of issues, integrating an individual’s specific need for care. A palliative care specialist will take several concerns into account for each patient including physical, spiritual, emotional, and psychological needs. Palliative care may be provided at any point during cancer care from diagnosis to end-of-life care. When a person receives palliative care, they may continue to receive cancer treatment.
According to the UICC, it is estimated that 10 million people die from cancer each year. That is more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. By 2030, experts project that cancer deaths could rise to 13 million if we do not take more action. More than one-third of cancer cases can be prevented. Another third can be cured if detected early and treated properly. Today, more than half (65%) of cancer deaths are happening in the least developed parts of the world. Even if you live in a higher-income country, inequities still exist among lower-income, indigenous, immigrant, refugee, and rural communities.
During the virtual celebration broadcast, Dr. Cary Adams CEO of UICC said, “This year, the theme is close the care gap and it is meant to address inequities around the world. These inequities prevent individuals from getting the right treatment and care at the right time. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed those inequities and they continue even as we progress out of the pandemic.”
Together individuals can create change. Every action taken has the potential to make a difference for ourselves, our loved ones, and the world at large. Play your part by making lifestyle changes, if need be, to prevent and reduce the chances of being diagnosed with cancer. Whether you are a cancer survivor, a caregiver, student, or leader, you have the power to take action and inspire change in your sphere of influence.
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