National Cancer Awareness Day 2020: History and significance

About 1.1 million new cancer cases are being reported annually in India

New Delhi (NVI): Cancer is a non-communicable disease and the second-deadliest disease which causes death among people around the world, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).

National Cancer Awareness Day is observed on November 7 every year across the country, to spread awareness about preventing the spreading of cancer and its early detection.

The day coincides with the birth anniversary of eminent French-Polish scientist Madame Curie. She is known for her discovery of radium and polonium, and her huge contribution to the fight against cancer.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan first announced the National Cancer Awareness Day in September 2014, with an aim to generate awareness on early detection and avoid leading cancer causing lifestyles.

He also launched the state-level movement on cancer control, and encouraged people to report to municipal clinics for free screening.

Nearly 1.1 million new cases are being reported annually in India. Two-thirds of cancer cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage, reducing patients’ chances of survival. The country had an estimated 1.16 million new cancer cases in 2018 alone, as per the WHO report.

Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer and in low and middle-income countries approximately 70 per cent of deaths occur due to cancer.

The most important risk factor for cancer is tobacco and is responsible for approximately 22 per cent of cancer deaths. However, there are more than 100 different types of cancer including breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, etc.

On this day, people are encouraged to report to government hospitals, CGHS and municipal clinics for free screening. Also, information booklets are circulated to generate awareness on how to avoid getting cancer and to look for signs of early symptoms.

In the fight against the disease, the types of cancer treatment include immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and prescribed medicine etc. With precaution of maintaining a healthy diet and weight helps long-term in fighting cancer.

Apart from that, get vaccinated, good sun protection, use of no tobacco and regular check-ups are the other precautions which can be taken.

-RJV