WORLD Cancer Day is commemorated annually on 4 February when people around the world unite against this disease that knows no borders and represents one of humanity’s most pressing humanitarian and financial concerns.
It is estimated that cancer will kill more than eight million people worldwide (2016 estimate), half of these deaths will be people of working age between 30 and 69. The consequent cost implications on world economies of cancer and other non-communicable diseases (including mental health) could have a greater economic impact than the global financial crisis of 2008.
Under the campaign theme “We can. I can”, World Cancer Day represents a unique opportunity to create an awareness of what can be achieved by business, government and individuals. The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the world’s leading cancer NGO has urged corporations to focus their business on products and services that improve public health.
UICC has also appealed to governments to urgently reaffirm their commitment to the following cost-effective cancer “essentials” packages to save lives.
• ‘Implementation of vaccination programmes, which prevent infections that cause cervical and liver cancer.
• Scale up of access to early detection and screening programmes for cervical, breast and bowel cancers and follow-on treatment.
• Improved tobacco taxation, regulation and control.
• Pain relief and palliative care services for all cancer patients.
• With more than a third of all cancers (up to 4.5 million per year) preventable through lifestyle interventions, UICC has also appealed to individuals to take responsibility for reducing their own cancer risk.
Simple measures such as stopping smoking, eating less red and processed meat, exercising regularly and reducing alcohol use can extend a healthy life, and must be seen as the first-line of defence against cancer and other associated non-communicable diseases.
Visit www.worldcancerday.org for more information on how the day is being marked around the globe. - UICC.