Importance of National Cancer Awareness Day
In India, National Cancer Awareness Day is celebrated on November 7th to increase awareness about the symptoms, early detection, and treatment of cancer. National Cancer Awareness Day was announced by the Union Minister of Health, Dr Harsh Vardhan, an otorhinolaryngologist in September 2014. He launched the movement on cancer control on state-level and encouraged people to report to municipal clinics for a free screening.
Cancer statistics in India
In India, about 1.5 million people have died because of cancer in 2018 and more than 1 million new cases are reported every year. Reports show that death rates due to cancer have been increasing rapidly for the last 30 years in India.
According to “India Against Cancer“:
- Every 8 minutes at least one woman dies of cervical cancer
- For every 2 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, one woman dies of it
- Mortality due to tobacco use is estimated at 3500 persons every day
- Tobacco (in different forms) use accounted for 3,17,928 deaths (approx) in men & women in 2018
Cancer is a fatal disease in which cells of the body divide uncontrollably and spread into surrounding tissues and damage them. These cells can form growths called tumours. Cancer can hit any part of our body such as the breast, lungs, skin, colon, and blood.
Symptoms of cancer:
- Appetite loss and fatigue
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Continuous diarrhoea
- Persistent cough
- Difficulty in swallowing and breathing
- Lumps under the skin or in the breast
- Sudden change in skin colour
- Blood in the stool and urine
- Fever and night sweats
Cancer causes and risk factors
There are several causes and risk factors for cancer such as age, defects in genes, heredity, exposure to UV radiations, or any carcinogenic chemicals, viral or bacterial infections, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption.
66% of cancer cases are detected at an advanced stage and this reduces the survival rate of a person. When cancer is detected and treated at an early stage, the patients’ survival rate improves significantly. In addition to this, early detection reduces the cost of treatment.
Prevention & Treatment
Cancer can be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight, doing exercise regularly, taking whole grains, fruits and vegetables, avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, timely vaccination, and regular check-ups.
Currently, there is no cure for cancer. But several treatment options are available for cancer including immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, Hormone Therapy, and stem cell therapy. Researchers are also working on advanced treatment options such as genetic testing and targeted therapies.
Therefore, National Cancer Awareness Day is celebrated to raise awareness across the country and to educate people about the early symptoms of the disease that should not be neglected. Always consult with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms. Even if you don’t have any signs or symptoms, you should get a routine cancer screening test. We wish you a healthy life.