Every year, 4th February is observed to be celebrated as World Cancer Day. It aims to prevent thousands of deaths each year by spreading awareness and education about cancer.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world, as it encompasses a wide range of diseases that can affect nearly any organ or tissue within the human body when abnormal cells multiply uncontrollably.
It is a topic of growing concern worldwide, causing a great deal of physical, mental, and emotional strain on individuals, families, communities, and the healthcare system.
Cancer treatment reflects a stark difference between high-income and low-income countries. WHO reports that comprehensive health services are available in more than 90% of high-income countries, but less than 15% of low-income countries.
How pandemic impacted cancer?
Globally, the pandemic affected cancer care facilities. More than half of the countries in a survey published in October 2021 had partially or completely halted cancer screening and treatment.
According to the Lancet study in 2021, in India, cancer services like new patient registration, major surgery, and hospital admission had dropped between March and May 2020. As stated in the report, this could lead to an excess in cancer-related deaths in the next five years and a significant number of cases were left unattended.
“Closing the gap”, WHO
Considering all these disparities, this year’s theme for World Cancer Day is “closing the gap.” Enormous efforts have been put together by organizations like WHO, to bridge the gap and bring quality cancer care to countries.
Reports released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and WHO, to mark World Cancer Day, give a ray of hope to humanity. One aims to set the global agenda on the disease and the other advocates the need for research and prevention.