The C Word

World Cancer Day- an international day is marked on 4th February; by the members of the United Nations. It is not a public holiday. This day was established by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to contribute to the objectives of the World Cancer Declaration.  In 2000, it was launched at the World Summit against cancer for the New Millenium in Paris. The first day of cancer was held in 2001. The ICC, the World Health Organization with the help of organizations like the International Atomic Energy Agency and more- educate about cancer. There are researchers, sufferers of the disease, doctors, governments, media and industrial associates present at the annual event.  They urge the government and the global humanity to stop innumerable deaths from occurring; while they still can. The slogan of this day for 2019-2021 is ‘I am and I will.’

Some cancers can be screened successfully like bowel, breast, Cervical, colorectal (colon) and lung cancer. This does change from one nation to another though. Not all, but several cancers warn in advance that; everything is not right with the body- the breast, cervical, colon, skin, oral and a few childhood cancers. If patients know about their type of cancer before hand; treatment becomes easy. They might be back to normal life soon as well.

This day aims at increasing people’s knowledge about cancer through different individuals, businesses, governmental and non- governmental organizations. It promotes the research for cancer. It encourages its prevention, detection and treatment. The purpose of the date is to reduce the deaths caused by cancer. The international community is gathered on every 4th of February; to end the injustices with which cancer patients are treated. It targets all the fabricated stories around cancer. This day wants to reduce taboos like- there is anything to be afraid about cancer and more. Plenty of events also take place around the world every year. People take initiatives to support those suffering from cancer. For example, the “No Hair Selfie” – in which people shave their heads either physically or virtually. They want to show a symbol of courage for those getting treated for cancer. Images of participants are then shared over social media. On this day there are television, radio, online and newspaper advertisements and articles that highlight the battle against cancer. There are worldwide breakfasts, lunches and dinners on every 4th of February to raise funds for cancer projects. Videos are made. Speakers share their knowledge regarding the C word. Public information booths are seen everywhere possible in the form of – information kits, fact sheets, posters or booklets. The local fund raising events- walks, galas, concerts and parades are in abundance too.

The writer was wondering if there are any steps that could be taken on individually; to make the surroundings free of cancer. Well, yes there are. Hence, to reduce the possibilities of cancer; one should stay away from cigarettes. In fact, no one else should be allowed in the house to smoke as well. An individual should always eat healthy. If mothers breastfeed they might never suffer from cancer at all. Vaccinating the toddlers against Hepatitis B and HPV is advised too. Our skin should be safeguarded from getting exposed to the sun. There should be no air pollution inside or outside a person’s house; if he does not want to fall a prey to cancer. No one should drink alcohol. Everyone should increase their physical activity. For instance, exercise is beneficial to avoid the risk of cancer. Also, get yourself screened for cancer on a routine basis.

What is the role of the government in the whole scenario you ask?  The answer to this query is that- it can make it possible for everyone to go for screening and detection; because the lazy the patient is the lesser the chances are to lead a normal life. It should make action to make the environment of educational institutes, offices and cities healthy. It is its responsibility to make the masses aware of the early symptoms of the ailment. If gatherings are arranged where the audience can hear the tales of cancer survivors; it might motivate a lot of people. More opportunities should be given to these patients to recover soon. The government should provide all the necessary support to cancer awareness campaigns owned by various localities. These campaigns are affiliated to the international World Cancer Day. People still need to know how to lessen the chances of cancer in their families. It must also aid social media platforms in enhancing the knowledge of the common man about cancer.

While, a pink rink is the universal symbol for breast cancer; an orange ribbon symbolizes cancer of the kids. A daffodil stand for the American Cancer Society’s hope that there would definitely be such a time when cancer will stop being a fatal disease.

Is the situation of the life threatening disease really that critical; the readers might be thinking. To that the writer wants to say that; the World Health Organization believes that, 2005-2015 almost 4 million deaths occurred only due to the ailment that begins with the alphabet C. In fact, lives are important. Don’t you agree? If not now, then when will you take action?

In the end, whoever you are; you have the responsibility to decrease the effect of cancer for yourself, for all those you hold dear and also for the rest of the world. Salute to all the warriors of cancer- Nazia Hassan, Manisha Koirala, Sonali  Bandre, Tahira Kashyap , Robert De Niro  and the list goes on.

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