World Cancer Day was celebrated globally February 4 to raise awareness on cancer and to encourage its detection, treatment and prevention. Founded by the Union for International Cancer Control, UICC to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008, the primary goal of the World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer by 2020. Ultimately, celebrating the Day is targeted at righting all forms of misinformation, raising awareness, and reducing associated stigma.
However, World Cancer Day is not designed to take away the significance of other similarly related Days set aside by globally acclaimed bodies to ponder on such ailments. In this regard, we recall the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month celebrated every October in the United States, National Prostate Health Month every September also in the United States and World Lymphoma Awareness Day, every September 15.
The foregoing no doubt, underscore the very essence of a peoples aggregate and positive action required to continuously mobilise against an ailment that troubles the world without regard for age, sex, race or creed. The embarrassment it has become remains in the ascendancy without accompanying fears. That science and medicine still engage in trial and error method in treating cancer of many forms leaves the people’s hopes dampened.
Globally, many people have died because of this painful disease, a condition in which affected cells start uncontrolled division and gradually spread over the body, thus creating very serious illness and leaving the affected person in a very painful condition. While we agree that the disease was incurable years back, we also accept the fact that many years of research have resulted in the introduction of some treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy to kill cancer cells. But we fear that the myths surrounding the Cancer scourge in the minds of the people are beginning to be as worrisome as the disease itself; if not more.
Sufferers of Cancer, we have continually noted, are sometimes ignored by their loved ones because sometimes other people think that diseased person can also be harmful for others. We condemn such attitude towards Cancer victims. Alongside other measures, it is time for all to stand up against inappropriate action against Cancer victims. In this regard, we hold that our starting point should be to fast track actions to break whatever myths and misconceptions there are surrounding the disease, its sufferers and treatment.
These include dealing with the disease openly to improve outcomes at an individual, community and policy level, the fact that there are warning signs and symptoms and the benefits of early detection are indisputable and that all sufferers must have the right to access proven and effective cancer treatments and services on equal terms, and without suffering hardship as a consequence. The world too must begin to create the environment for victims to freely talk about their plight and openly seek help. On government’s side, there is a lot that can be done at an individual, community and policy level and with the right strategies, most common cancers can be prevented.
We submit that it is time governments started treating Cancer and its sufferers with care, concern and hope. Also, it is time society begin to respect the rights and sensibilities of cancer victims. What is really needed here is the awareness that must surpass the ordinary run-of-the-mill tactics and half measures employed by governments and policy makers. A more practical effort should be in the direction of providing subsidy treatment of the disease and intensifying research into findings that will guarantee cheaper cost of treatment of Cancer sufferers. They too have their right to life.


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