The World Cancer Day is celebrated every year on 4th of February, all over the world. Cancer is a leading cause of death in both, more and less economically developed countries. There are over 100 cancer types that exist nowadays and each of them requires unique diagnosis and treatment. The burden is expected to grow worldwide due to the growth and aging of the population, particularly in less developed countries, in which about 82% of the world’s population resides.
Globally, an estimated 8.8 million people die from cancer every year. In the world, 17 people die every minute from cancer, with 70% of deaths occurring in developing countries. Child cancers also highlight the inequality factor that plays such a large role in cancer, as survival rates differ greatly between high-income and low-income countries. In addition, there are 77440 new cancer cases each year. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the progress being made in the fight against cancer was threatened but it has also created the opportunity to address systemic weaknesses in many national health systems.
The World Cancer Day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease. This year’s theme, “I can, we can” acknowledges that everyone has the capacity to address the cancer burden. We can work together to reduce cancer risk factors. We can overcome barriers to early diagnosis, treatment and palliative care.
We, at World Assembly of Youth, believe that the World Cancer Day is an opportunity to reflect on the multi-stakeholders and multidisciplinary nature of cancer control. Cancer is not just a health issue, it is increasingly becoming a social issue that requires attention and action at all levels. Therefore, we urge youth to start caring about their health by reflecting it in their lifestyle as to prevent is always better than to cure. We all, as a collective or as individuals, can do our part to reduce the global burden of cancer.
The World Cancer Day is the one singular initiative under which the entire world can unite together in the fight against the global cancer epidemic. We will only be successful in the fight against cancer through strong collaboration between wide ranges of stakeholders: policymakers, researchers, civil society, medical professionals, and academia - and, last but not least, patients. Hence, we would like to appreciate and thank the nurses, doctors, researchers, volunteers, advocates, and other caregivers, from around the world, who have worked these past 12 months through the COVID-19 pandemic.
We can work together to improve cancer control and achieve global targets to reduce premature mortality from cancer and NCDs.