World Cancer Day, led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), is an international day earmarked for raising awareness about cancer with messages wrapped around cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. This global event holds 4th February of every year.
The principal aim of World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer while also providing an even platform and opportunity to rally the international community to end the injustice of preventable suffering from cancer. Hundreds of cancer-related deaths can be easily prevented if adequate measures and support are provided by concerned government parastatals. Raising awareness each via social education can help push this menace to the forefront of governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease. Put simply, cancer is one of the world’s leading killers.
According to a publication on PubMed (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21796634), Some 100 000 new cases of cancer occur every year In Nigeria, with high case fatality ratio. With approximately 20% of the population of Africa and slightly more than half the population of West Africa, Nigeria contributed 15% to the estimated 681,000 new cases of cancer that occurred in Africa in 2008. Similar to the situation in the rest of the developing world, a significant proportion of the increase in the incidence of cancer in Nigeria is due to increasing life expectancy, reduced risk of death from infectious diseases, increasing prevalence of smoking, physical inactivity, obesity as well as changing dietary and lifestyle patterns. A WHO report in 2018 revealed that cancer killed 41,000 people in Nigeria. (https://www.premiumtimesng.com/health/309867-cancer-killed-41000-people-in-nigeria-in-2018-who.html)
Cancer prevalence in Nigeria is not only affecting adults. There has been a recent increase in the number of children suffering from cancer-related diseases. According to a report by NCBI on Cancer Incidence in Nigeria (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3438369/) which captured about 100,000 cancer cases at the turn of the last decade, 4% of recorded all invasive cancer cases were found in children between the age 0 -14 across two Population-Based Cancer Registry centres.
The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) recently mentioned that this year alone, nearly 9.6 million people will die of cancer, and left unchecked, the number of deaths will increase to 13.2 million per year by 2030. Many of these deaths can be avoided with increased governmental support and funding for prevention, detection and treatment programmes. Unless urgent action is taken to raise awareness about cancer and develop practical strategies to address the disease, millions of people will continue to die (https://www.uicc.org/what-we-do/convening/world-cancer-day/why-world-cancer-day-matters)
This year, TNCI joins millions across the world in the fight against cancer to show support, raise a collective voice, and implore concerned agencies in Nigeria to take necessary action.
‘I Am and I Will’ is the theme of World Cancer Day 2020; an empowering call for personal commitment to reduce the growing impact of cancer which TNCI is proud to support.