World Cancer Day Thursday 4 February 2021
World Cancer Day is a leading international awareness day led by the UICC, the Union for International Cancer Control.
Taking place on 4 February every year, this global initiative works to raise worldwide awareness of cancer, improve education and promote personal, collective and government action. Its aim, to bring people together to reimagine a world where millions of preventable cancer deaths are saved and access to life-saving cancer treatment and care is equal for all – no matter who you are or where you live.
Key Cancer Facts
- 10 million people die from cancer every year.
- At least one third of common cancers are preventable.
- Cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide.
- 70% of cancer deaths occur in low-to-middle income countries.
- Up to 3.7 million lives could be saved each year by implementing resource appropriate strategies for prevention, early detection and treatment.
- The total annual economic cost of cancer is estimated at US$1.16 trillion.
World Cancer Day raises awareness of several key issues. These are:
- Awareness, understanding, myths, and misinformation.
- Prevention and risk reduction.
- Equity in access to cancer services.
- Government action and accountability.
- Beyond physical: mental and emotional impact.
- Saving lives saves money.
- Reducing the skills gap.
- Working together as one.
Want to know more? You can explore these key issues here
Supporting the holistic needs of people living with cancer has never been more urgent. As we continue to live in a world dominated by coronavirus, the impact on our mental and emotional health is huge.
Quality cancer care includes dignity, respect, support and love and considers not just the physical impact of cancer but the emotional, sexual and social wellbeing of each individual, and those that love and care for them.
Many cancer patients and their families describe feeling a loss of control of their lives after a cancer diagnosis. Patients and families should be empowered to participate actively in decisions about their care and treatment plan which respects their individual needs and preferences. This can go a long way in helping individuals to regain a sense of control and preserve their dignity throughout their cancer experience.
Body image and sexual wellbeing
Physical changes that can occur during and after treatment such as the removal of a part of the body, hair loss, speech impairment or urinary incontinence can affect the way patients’ look and feel about themselves. Issues of body image and sexuality can have a significant impact on partner relationships, with cancer patients and survivors facing issues around self-esteem and sexual intimacy.
Support and love
Studies have found that cancer support groups can enhance self-esteem, reduce depression, decrease anxiety, and improve relationships with family members and friends. For a person living with cancer, strong emotional support and loving relationships with partners, friends and families can make a big difference in their life.
People-centred, dignity-conserving care
This approach means moving towards empowering individuals with cancer to take part in decisions, and to have all their holistic needs addressed - physical, emotional, spiritual, and social.
Cancer carers – most commonly partners, family members or friends – often receive little preparation, information, or support to carry out their vital role. Often, carers also put their own needs and feelings aside to focus on the person with cancer, which can lead social isolation and depression in some cases.
The power of colleagues
Many people living with cancer want to return to work. Sometimes the people at work make up another vital network of support. Talking about cancer with colleagues as well as keeping in touch during work absences can have a positive impact on recovery.
What can we do?
As individuals – find out more about cancer services like Penny Brohn UK, help to share accurate information about cancer to dispel myths and misconceptions, support those individuals around you.
As caregivers – take advantage of support like our online services to support yourself and your family member/friend with cancer, these services might be able to direct you to more resources.
As employers/colleagues – explore how you can support colleagues or employees with cancer (or caregivers) through measures like flexible working hours or creating an open environment to talk (or not talk) about cancer.
Together, all our actions matter.
Every individual action has the potential to make a difference for ourselves, the people we love and the world. It’s time to make a personal commitment. You can find more ways to get involved with World Cancer Day.
To create a future without cancer. The time to act is now.
We believe that everybody should have equal access to the practical, emotional and social support they need to live life as fully as possible with the impact of cancer. All of our online and one to one sessions are run entirely on a donation basis.
We help people live well with cancer. Your donations make it happen.
Help change life with cancer, donate online today.
For more information about how you can support our work please visit www.pennybrohn.org.uk