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Tata Capital > Blog > Medical Loan > World Cancer Day | Description, Facts, & History

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World Cancer Day | Description, Facts, & History

World Cancer Day | Description, Facts, & History

Held each year on the 4th of February, World Cancer Day is an international cancer awareness day aimed at addressing the rising global burden of cancer. Initiated by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) in 2000, this annual event brings together key stakeholders across communities, governments, and organisations to collectively combat cancer—a leading cause of death, claiming nearly 10 million lives annually.

The core mission of World Cancer Day is to raise public ownership and understanding regarding different cancer types, dispel common misconceptions, spotlight key issues along the care continuum, and, ultimately, activate meaningful local and global action to prevent deaths from this disease.

In this blog post, we will delve into the history of World Cancer Day, its significance, explore its themes, and discuss global health initiatives undertaken to combat this deadly disease.

History of World Cancer Day

World cancer day’s history can be traced back to World Summit Against Cancer, held in 2000 in Paris. The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), a global organisation dedicated to uniting the cancer community to reduce the global cancer burden, proposed the idea of a World Cancer Day during this summit.

The inaugural World Cancer Day took place on February 4, 2000, and it has been observed on the same date every year since. The choice of February 4th is symbolic, as it marks the signing of the Charter of Paris Against Cancer, a document outlining a commitment to the global fight against cancer.

Significance of World Cancer Day

Over the years, World Cancer Day has grown in significance and participation. It focuses on raising awareness about cancer and dispel myths and misconceptions surrounding the disease. Many individuals still lack basic knowledge about cancer, leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment. By disseminating accurate information, World Cancer Day aims to empower people to make informed decisions about their health and seek timely medical attention when needed.

Besides that, it has also become a platform for governments, NGOSs, healthcare professionals, cancer survivors, and the general public to come together and work towards a world without the burden of cancer.

Theme for World Cancer Day

The World Cancer Day's them for 2022, 2023 and 2024 is "Close the Care Gap". The next year marks the third year of the theme, which focuses on understanding and addressing inequities in cancer care globally.

The day emphasises encouraging conversations around cancer and appealing to leaders to prioritize addressing this deadly disease. Cancer often shows early signs and symptoms. Early detection through regular screenings can improve outcomes tremendously.

However, social and economic barriers like lack of awareness, high treatment costs or insufficient health infrastructure continue to cause care gaps worldwide. World Cancer Day calls for collective action to eliminate disparities in prevention, diagnosis and treatment by making services accessible and affordable for all.

Facts about Cancer

Cancer is a group of diseases characterised by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. These cells can invade surrounding tissues and may form masses or tumors. There are more than 100 types of cancer, each with its unique characteristics and treatment approaches. Some of its vital facts are as follows.

- Cancer was responsible for about 10 million deaths worldwide in 2020, accounting for nearly one in six deaths globally making it a leading cause of morbidity and mortality.

- The most commonly diagnosed cancers are - lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancers. However, distribution varies significantly across income groups and geographies based on exposure to risk factors.

- Cancer types linked to infections like cervical cancer, liver cancer and stomach cancer are more common in low and middle-income countries.

- At least one third of deaths from cancer are due to high body mass index (BMI), tobacco use, alcohol consumption, low vegetable and fruit intake and loack of physical activity.

Here are some common cancer prevention facts.

- Getting vaccinated for hepatitis B virus and some types of HPV can reduce the risk of liver and cervical cancers, respectively.

- Early diagnosis and timely treatment improve cancer outcomes tremendously - 5-year survival rates for breast cancer patients at stage I or II can be up to 99% with optimal care.

- Supportive and palliative care throughout the cancer treatment journey improves the quality of life for patients and their families. Debunking misconceptions leading to stigma remains vital.

Global Health Initiatives

World Cancer Day promotes global collaboration and policy action to reduce the burden of cancer worldwide. Some key initiatives launched around this annual awareness event are:

WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer: This aims to increase childhood cancer survival rates to over 60% by 2030 through improving access to quality and affordable diagnosis, treatment and palliative care while providing education and support for families.

WHO Cervical Cancer Elimination Strategy: Launched in 2020, this outlines specific targets and interventions to eliminate cervical cancer by 2030 including scaling up HPV vaccination coverage, screening rates to detect precancerous lesions early and expanding capacity for effective treatment.

Global Breast Cancer Initiative: Established in 2021, this brings together stakeholders across sectors to reduce breast cancer mortality by 2.5% annually, potentially saving 2.5 million lives over 20 years. Its framework focuses on assessing, strengthening and expanding early detection services and timely management of breast cancer.

Wrapping Up

World Cancer Day creates a global platform to unite voices and drive collective action against the rising burden of preventable cancer deaths worldwide. This annual awareness event fosters vital momentum across all aspects of cancer care. The day applauds progress made in certain areas like prevention, early screening, and palliation while also spotlighting gaps where more work remains to be done.

A cancer diagnosis can entail deep emotional, physical, and financial stress for patients and families. Seeking a personal loan for medical purposes with competitive personal loan interest rates and flexible repayment options can aid financial planning to navigate care expenses without additional burden. Tata Capital offers personal loans with minimal documentation and easy-to-meet eligibility criteria. What's more, people can also use our personal loan EMI calculator to estimate monthly installments beforehand, helping make informed borrowing choices.

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