WORDS PANK JIT SIN
World Cancer Day 2019 is celebrated on 4th February every year and many activities are carried out around the world in conjunction with this day.
This year’s theme for World Cancer Day is ‘I Am and I Will’ which is an empowering call to action to everyone to embrace personal commitment towards reducing the impact of cancer for themselves, their loved ones and the rest of the world.
Our Ministry of Health came out with a factsheet for healthcare providers (but there are some key messages everyone should take away from it) and it address five key issues namely:
- Awareness and correct understanding
- Screening for cancer
- Prevention and risk reduction
- Mental and emotional impact
- Saving lives and saving money
- Improve awareness and knowledge about early signs and symptoms of cancer. Awareness and accurate information can help with earlier diagnosis, thus earlier treatment and a possible cure in certain cancers. Make informed choices about one’s health and dispel ignorance and misconceptions about cancer ie, exercising, avoidance of smoking and processed foods, etc.
- Early screening will detect cancer and precancerous lesions and those that can be effectively screened include breast, cervical, colorectal and oral cancers. All four screening services are provided by the MOH at public health clinics throughout the country.
- Prevention and risk reduction. At least 30% to 50% of cancers are preventable, which means everyone can reduce their risk of developing cancer by avoiding cigarettes and alcohol; exercising and eating healthy; and vaccination (for human papillomavirus and hepatitis B).
- The mental and emotional impact of cancer goes beyond the physical aspect as it affects the mental and emotional wellbeing of the patient and loved ones. Patients and their caregivers should be encouraged to participate actively in the decisions about their care and treatment plan.
- Saving lives and saving money. Cancer patients and their families often encounter a double-whammy of sorts on their finances. Cancer treatment itself can take up the entire savings and insurance expenditure. Additionally, the patient may not be able to work, confounding the problem at hand. Therefore, it is best to avoid cancer where possible, treat early otherwise and prevent a catastrophic financial situation for the family. HT
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