National Cancer Awareness Day in India serves as a platform for raising awareness about the various types of cancer, emphasizing the importance of early detection, and advocating for essential lifestyle changes.
Cancer, a highly lethal disease worldwide, has witnessed an alarming increase both on a global scale and within India. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as revealed in the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) World Cancer Report, one in 10 Indians will develop cancer during their lifetime, and one in 15 will succumb to this ailment.
Lifestyle choices play a pivotal role in cancer development. Notably, cancers like breast cancer and colorectal cancer, associated with factors such as obesity, limited physical activity, and a sedentary lifestyle, have seen a surge. National Cancer Awareness Day in India is dedicated to spreading awareness about the diverse forms of cancer, the imperative need for early detection, and the vital lifestyle modifications required to combat this disease.
As per WHO, cancer encompasses a broad spectrum of diseases that can originate in any organ or tissue of the body. It occurs when abnormal cells proliferate uncontrollably and may even spread to other body parts, leading to metastatic cancer. Lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach, and liver cancers rank as the most prevalent types among men, while women are more prone to breast, colorectal, lung, cervical, and thyroid cancers.
The History of National Cancer Awareness Day in India
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare in India, initiated National Cancer Awareness Day in September 2014. A dedicated committee was formed, and November 7 was designated as the annual observance day, with the primary goal of educating the public about cancer, its treatment options, and the significant impact of early intervention on survival rates.
The Significance of National Cancer Awareness Day
Over 50% of cancer cases are diagnosed in advanced stages, substantially affecting survival rates. However, early detection plays a pivotal role in achieving complete recovery. The timely identification of cancer or pre-cancerous changes through various screening methods provides a window of opportunity to implement interventions that can slow down or even prevent the development of cancer.