February 4 is observed every year as World Cancer Day. Every year, cancer day is observed to bring awareness to the public about cancer, its risks, early diagnosis facilities and educating people about the various types of cancer. The theme for this year is “Closing the Care Gap” which focuses on reducing the cancer burden and improving the care facilities. Cancer is the deadly disease where any tissues or body parts can be affected and cells grow uncontrollably and abnormally and spread to other parts of the body. It is the second leading cause of deaths in the world and has the ability to destroy normal tissues.
The year 2022 recorded 20 million new cancer cases and 10 million deaths. Although there is revolution in cancer care like many advances in technology, updated guidelines, and integrated work leading to better results but this is confined to metropolitan cities and at the district and village level cancer care needs to be streamlined. Cancer can be prevented and controlled by implementing evidence-based strategies for cancer prevention. Although it is possible to live long with cancer, it is important to be diagnosed first and determine the suitable treatment patterns that can help reduce the growth of cancer cells.
Treatments for cancer have a high impact on the patient’s economic and social constraints. The cancer burden can increase by 60 per cent in the next two decades if the healthcare system strains people and communities. It is estimated that by 2040, there will be a 57 per cent increase in cancer and approximately 6.23 million new cases if no further action is taken. To deal with the situation, there is a need for establishing more cancer care centers at the district level and recruiting more specialists. Awareness in society and standardisation of treatment will enable us to close the care gap.
Early detection of cancer can save a patient’s life. While it is also important to have equal access to quality care, access to correct and concise information and knowledge about cancer can empower communities to conquer the social stigma. Palliative care is essential for comfort in advanced cancers and it’s a crucial part of integrated cancer care services. Psychological counseling builds the mental strength of the patient to develop a positive attitude and helps the patient to take treatment completely.
There is a need for efforts to support the development of new treatments, increasing the accessibility of the treatments, and encouraging research on a global scale. This can involve teamwork from healthcare organisations, advocacy groups and individuals who work to overcome the challenges caused by cancer. It is a complex disease with various risks and challenges. To tackle this, healthcare organisations, policymakers, researchers and communities must work together. With a focus to serve the underserved communities, it requires breaking down barriers that are restricting people to have access to quality treatment.