Not beyond us: World Cancer Day 2015

Written by Edel Cayetano (POC) | Wednesday, 18 February 2015

With the tagline “Not beyond us,” World Cancer Day (WCD) 2015 takes on a positive and proactive approach to the fight against cancer, according to the World Cancer Day official global press release. It also highlights solutions that exist across the continuum of cancer, and that they are within our reach.

World Cancer Day takes place every February 4, uniting the entire world in the fight against the global cancer epidemic.

WCD aims to help save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer. It also looks into practical strategies to address the cancer burden.

“World Cancer Day is a unique opportunity to raise awareness that there is much that can be done at an individual, community and governmental level, to harness and mobilize these solutions and catalyze positive change” it says on the WCD website. “By moving forward together we have the potential to show: Cancer. It is not beyond us.”

This year’s campaign has four key areas of focus: 1) choosing healthy lives, 2) delivering early detection, 3) achieving treatment for all, and 4) maximizing quality of life.

Why observe World Cancer Day?

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth and spread of cells, which can affect almost any part of the body. Many cancers can be prevented by avoiding exposure to common risk factors, such as cigarette smoke. According to UN, a significant proportion of cancers can be cured by surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, especially if detected early.

The global epidemic of cancer is rising. More than 8.2 million people die from cancer worldwide every year, out of which, 4 million people die prematurely (aged 30 to 69 years). And over the next 20 years, the number of cancer cases and related deaths are expected to double worldwide if no action is taken.

“Unfortunately, most cancer cases are expected to occur in low and middle income countries, those least equipped to cope with both the social and economic impact of the disease,” says Professor Tezer Kutluk, President of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).

The Philippines is considered to be a low-income country.

The UICC emphasizes the international community’s collective responsibility of aiding those who lack the resources to tackle the big ‘C.’ The process of building capacity, developing services and training more cancer experts is likely to take a decade or more, which is why everyone is called to act with urgency.

“Not beyond us”

World Cancer Day is an initiative of the UICC, a leading international organization that unites the cancer community to reduce the global cancer burden, to promote greater equity, and to integrate cancer control into the world health and development agenda.

This year’s campaign explores how we can implement what we already know in the areas of prevention, early detection, treatment and care, and in turn, open up to the prospect to ease the impact of global cancer burden.

Since it was founded, it has been the goal of this important holiday to significantly reduce illness and death caused by the disease by 2020. Now five years away from the deadline, what progress are we making?

WCD in the Philippines

In observance of WCD 2015, a benefit concert titled “Kailangan Kita (I Need You) – A Different Kind of Love” was conducted last January 30 in Taguig City. The concert featured some of the music industry’s finest talents such as Martin Nievera, Rico J. Puno and Richard Poon.

“The aim of the concert is to SAVE LIVES by gaining support from individuals and institutions in the reduction of cancer prevalence through awareness raising activities as well as supporting in the care and rehabilitation of cancer survivors,” says Emer Rojas, Global Cancer Ambassador to the Philippines. “It also aims to reduce the stigma that cancer has no cure but rather show to the public that is life after cancer.”

The fundraising event benefited several children now battling with blood cancer (leukemia), women survivors of breast cancer and men survivors of throat cancer.