National Cancer Awareness Day is commemorated on November 7 in India. This significant day underscores the importance of promoting knowledge about cancer prevention and the benefits of early detection among the Indian populace. With the establishment of the National Cancer Control Programme in 1975, India laid the foundation for enhanced cancer treatment facilities. However, the alarming statistic that stands out is the annual reporting of approximately 1.1 million new cancer cases in India. A major concern is that two-thirds of these cases are diagnosed when the cancer has already progressed to an advanced stage, which unfortunately diminishes the patients’ prospects of survival. To combat this, several initiatives have been kickstarted to amplify research and increase public knowledge on cancer prevention and its early detection.
History of National Cancer Awareness Day
The inception of National Cancer Awareness Day dates back to an announcement by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the Indian Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, in September 2014. From that year onward, every November 7 became a dedicated day for cancer awareness. The main objective of this day is to shed light on the crucial aspects of early cancer detection and to educate the public about avoiding lifestyles that are conducive to cancer.
Under Dr. Harsh Vardhan’s leadership, an emphasis was placed on early detection and cancer research at the state level. The government has been proactive, urging the citizens to avail of free screenings available at government hospitals, CGHS, and municipal clinics. To further disseminate information, booklets are distributed to the public, enlightening them on preventive measures and early symptom recognition.
Diving into the past, we find that the National Cancer Control Programme, which was established in 1975, underwent revisions in 1984-85. The key changes were geared towards accentuating the prevention and early detection of cancer.
A unique facet of National Cancer Awareness Day is that it aligns with the birthday of the Nobel-prize laureate, Madame Marie Curie. Born in 1867 in Warsaw, Poland, Madame Curie’s groundbreaking discovery of radium and polonium paved the way for monumental strides in the battle against cancer. Her pioneering work played an instrumental role in ushering in the era of nuclear energy and laid the groundwork for radiotherapy, a treatment modality for cancer.
Statistics and Current Scenario
The current scenario in India paints a sobering picture. Each year witnesses a staggering 1.1 million new cancer diagnoses. The statistics further reveal that every 8 minutes, a woman in India succumbs to cervical cancer. Moreover, in 2018 alone, tobacco consumption, both smoked and smokeless, was responsible for a harrowing 3,17,928 deaths among both men and women. A closer look at the data indicates that cancers of the oral cavity and lungs constitute over 25% of male cancer fatalities, while in women, breast and oral cavity cancers together make up 25% of the total cancer cases.
Recommendation and Positive Outlook
Dr. Harsh Vardhan fervently believes and communicates that early cancer detection is a game-changer. When identified at an early stage, the treatment costs are significantly reduced, and more importantly, the mortality rates plummet. His persistent advice to the Indian populace is to not ignore any sympt
Significance of National Cancer Awareness Day
National Cancer Awareness Day aims to increase public understanding of cancer and promote early detection strategies, such as regular health check-ups and screenings. It’s an important initiative to improve health literacy and help reduce the global cancer burden.
Participating in National Cancer Awareness Day
There are many ways you can participate in National Cancer Awareness Day, including:
- Educate Yourself and Others: Learn about different types of cancer, their symptoms, and treatment options. Share this knowledge with your friends, family, and community.
- Support Cancer Patients and Survivors: Reach out to those affected by cancer in your community. Lend a listening ear, offer assistance, or simply express your support.
- Donate: Consider donating to cancer research organizations or supporting fundraisers for cancer patients.
- Spread the Word: Use your social media platforms to share informative content about cancer awareness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: When is National Cancer Awareness Day celebrated?
A: National Cancer Awareness Day is primarily observed in India on November 7 each year. However, global initiatives like World Cancer Day are celebrated on February 4.
Q2: What is the purpose of National Cancer Awareness Day?
A: National Cancer Awareness Day aims to raise public awareness about cancer, the importance of early detection, and the various treatment options available. It also acknowledges and supports the individuals affected by this disease.
Q3: How can I participate in National Cancer Awareness Day?
A: You can participate by educating yourself and others about cancer, offering support to cancer patients and survivors, making donations to cancer research organizations, and using your social media platforms to promote cancer awareness.
Q4: Who started National Cancer Awareness Day?
A: In India, National Cancer Awareness Day was first instituted by the Union Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, in 2014.
Q5: Why is cancer awareness important?
A: Cancer awareness is vital for promoting early detection, which significantly improves the chances of successful treatment. Increased awareness can also contribute to more funding for research, better health policies, and improved support for individuals affected by cancer.