National Cancer Awareness Day 2021: Date, History, Significance, and facts about Cancer
National Cancer Awareness Day 2021: As per WHO, approximately 70% of deaths from cancer occur in low and middle-income countries. About one-third of deaths occur from cancer because of the use of tobacco, high body mass index, alcohol use, low fruit and vegetable intake, and lack of physical activity. The economic impact of cancer is significant and increasing.
Across the world, cancer is the leading cause of death, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020 and the most common (in terms of new cases of cancer) were:
- breast (2.26 million cases);
- lung (2.21 million cases);
- colon and rectum (1.93 million cases);
- prostate (1.41 million cases);
- skin (non-melanoma) (1.20 million cases); and
- stomach (1.09 million cases).
In 2020, the most common causes of cancer death were:
- lung (1.80 million deaths);
- colon and rectum (935 000 deaths);
- liver (830 000 deaths);
- stomach (769 000 deaths); and
- breast (685 000 deaths).
In India, National Cancer Awareness Day is observed on 7 November every year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of death globally. In 2018, there were around 0.8 million cancer deaths in India against 9.5 million globally. By 2040, the number of new cases is estimated to be double in India.
A Pilot on Trade Margin Rationalisation was launched by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) for 42 anti-cancer drugs. It is a step towards making healthcare more affordable for suffering patients.
We can't ignore the fact that the financial burden associated with cancer can force patients and households into acute misery, destitution, and even insolvency. Therefore, it is necessary that cancer drugs should be affordable so that whenever required the treatment can be provided to the patients at the earliest in the early stages when the cancer is curable. Cancer drug availability and affordability will give impetus to treatment outcomes that will bring down the cost of treatment.
When abnormal growth of cells occurs in the body it results in cancer and invades other tissues also. It can affect almost any part of the body. Cancer is also known as malignancy. Did you know that more than 100 types of cancer exist including breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, etc? National Cancer Awareness Day is observed across the country and was announced by the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. According to him, it is high time we went into combative mode against this disease.
National Cancer Awareness Day: History
National Cancer Awareness Day was first announced by the Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan in September 2014. Therefore in 2014, the day was celebrated for the first time and focuses on the early detection and cure of cancer.
Let us tell you that, Harsh Vardhan first time launched the state-level movement on cancer control. On this day people are encouraged to report to government hospitals, CGHS, and municipal clinics for a free screening. To generate awareness information booklets are also circulated stating how to avoid getting cancer and look for signs of early symptoms.
The government of Kerala proposed the "Suhurtham" scheme for making cancer treatment free in districts and medical college hospitals.
Facts about Cancer
According to "India Against Cancer" a portal that provides information on the leading cancers in India -
- In India, one woman dies of cervical cancer every 8 minutes.
- For every 2 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, one woman dies of it in India.
- Mortality in India due to tobacco is estimated at upwards of 3500 persons every day.
- Tobacco whether smoked or smokeless is also one of the causes of cancer and accounted for 3, 17,928 deaths (approx) in men and women in 2018.
- Around 2.25 million people are estimated to live with cancer disease.
- Over 11, 57,294 lakh new cancer patients are registered every year.
- Total deaths due to cancer in 2018
Total: 7, 84, 821
Men: 4, 13,519
Women: 3, 71,302
In 2018, the risk of dying from cancer before the age of 75 years is 7.34% in males and 6.28% in females.
Note: Cancer of the oral cavity and lungs accounts for 25% of deaths in males and about 25% in females of breast and oral cavity cancer.
- According to WHO, In 2018, cancer claimed approx 9.6 million lives in the world.
- According to the Lancet report about cancer, India is the second biggest killer after heart disease.
- India is likely to have over 17.3 lakh new cases of cancer and over 8.8 lakh deaths due to the disease by 2020 with cancers of the breast, lung, and cervix topping the list
Now, the main concern that everyone should focus on is what causes cancer?
Lancet’s report says that the use of tobacco is a risk factor for 14 types of cancer. Other causes include alcohol, drug use, and poor diet. Unsafe sex is also the main risk factor for cervical cancer and is the second most common cancer type in women. The high risk of lung cancer is tobacco use and air pollution.
Symptoms of Cancer
- It has been seen that usually, cancer has no specific symptoms. Therefore, people should undergo appropriate cancer screening on time. Also, early detection of cancer has made several cancers treatable.
Symptoms of common cancer in general are:
- Habits of bowel change, for example, continuous diarrhoea.
- Consistent cough or blood in saliva represents simple infections like bronchitis.
- Unexplained anaemia (low blood count) may also result in the deadly disease.
- Breast lumps
- Urination change
- Lumps in testicles.
- Blood in the stool.
Various types of Cancer treatment
- Radiation Therapy
- Hormone Therapy
- Targeted Therapy
- Stem Cell Transplant
- Precision Medicine etc.
How can cancer be prevented?
Early detection and prevention are a must to cure cancer disease.
- Healthy weight
- Healthy diet
- Physically active
- Get vaccinated
- Sun Protection
- Don't use tobacco
- Regular check-ups etc.
Therefore, National Cancer Awareness Day highlights the cancer disease across the country to reduce the risk of cancer and to provide knowledge on how to tackle this disease, and what are the probable symptoms should not be neglected. World Cancer Day is also celebrated on 4 February annually to raise awareness about cancer globally.