In a couple of days, the international cancer community and its associates will share the stage to honor the importance of World Cancer Day. The 4th of February will be marked as the final year of the “I Am and I Will” campaign – this year with even greater significance relied upon the efforts to control cancer amidst a pandemic.
The pandemic has impacted the plans initiated by several UICC members and health organizations from around the globe. As a result, all activities designed for World Cancer Day have been modified – we now have zoom talks instead of face-to-face discussions and webinars instead of conferences. Furthermore, all kinds of events, like fundraisers and celebratory talks, have been virtualized.
Ever since its foundation in 1933, the goal of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) is to urge global leaders to take action and become the controlling pads of cancer – by investing in treatment centers, researches, patient groups, screening and prevention programs, diagnostic rounds, etc. It makes us optimistic and better prepared to fight cancer.
As a matter of fact, this has been the highlighted priority for the organization as the world collectively fights the pandemic. The -19 pandemic has magnified the challenges faced by cancer professionals, patients, and global societies.
Last year, a QA-based survey was conducted by the UICC and it was passed around in 172 countries by the 1200 members. The idea was to get a better understanding of the pandemic and find a holistic grip on the way activities and operations are carried on. Out of the 108 organizations that replied from 55 countries, 77% of the results conferred that there have been reductions in their income whereas 80% claimed that there have been reductions in the activities and services.
But despite it all, it’s incredible to witness the cancer community fight back with resilience.
It has now come to understanding that a large number of the organization members continued their advocacy within their personal capacity and provided essential cancer services like the HPV vaccination along with the screening and diagnostic treatment for cancer patients.
In addition, the conduction and publication of scientific researches during the pandemic is crucial. It’s normal to see the eagerness of the public to be more prone towards acquiring scientific information regarding Covid-19 prognosis, diagnosis, and its treatment. Some even try to grasp information on the impact of the Coronavirus on cancer care.
It’s important to give a special round of applause to the researchers, scientists, and other health professionals who’ve stood out as inspirational to many. We’ve witnessed their tremendous efforts and medical breakthroughs at the cost of their own health sometimes.
The definite breakthrough moment was in the lab, when SARS-CoV-2— that was undertaken via international collaboration— resulted in the availability of a vaccine now progressively rolled out to the entire world.
Science and innovation must go hand-in-hand if we truly aim to make progress in cancer control. This mindset has enabled us to gain information needed to fight and reduce the burden put on the cancer community worldwide.
In the last few years, we’ve managed to witness grave advances in the diagnostics, treatments, and serving facilities of cancer patients.
Additional efforts have been granted to liquid biopsies, robotic surgeries, advanced radiotherapy, immunotherapy and other therapies and treatments that help the patients in the earlier stages to fight and come out victorious.
Basically, innovation in health and development can yield more productive and fulfilling results. There has been an effort at large and a mission envisioned to make cancer services accessible and affordable to each and every one who needs them. Hence, there’s added stress on the matter of equity when visualizing the goals.
Innovation, at large, refers to the Research & Development of new medicines and healthy-related technologies. However, it also refers to the organization and creative propositions in delivering healthcare responsibilities. The bracket includes the management of information, response to the needs of users, and development of business models to ensure sustainability and productivity.
UICC believes that cancer communities around the globe must partner up with their respective governments and invest in controlling the illness and finding innovative approaches to fight it. Hence, they must inform themselves and improve prevention and detection techniques alongside the treatment of cancer.
With that in mind, the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit (WCLS) has also scheduled a conference in Boston, USA, in October 2021. The theme of the event will be “Driving innovation to advance cancer control equitably”,which aims to explore different models of cancer controls like the value-based care model. The event will highlight the needs that must be acknowledged while implementing the health policies and innovative practices in the health-care system.
In the event, the WCLS will also shed light on the experiences of the participants in the response of cancer communities during the pandemic. However, more focus will be put on the innovative approaches that can be implemented to optimize and facilitate the care of cancer patients.
World Cancer Day has been conceptualized by the UICC as an attempt to raise awareness of cancer and promote its prevention measurements, early detection methodologies, and effective treatments.
This year, on the 4th of February, there will be a slight modification as the virtual issue will be focused on Covid-19 and cancer and the research studies on patient care. There will be biological insights on patients who contracted the Coronavirus while battling cancer. This will amplify the significance of cancer control policy during a full-blown pandemic.
This year, the theme of the World Cancer Day is “I am and I will”, stressing on the role each and every individual can play in reducing the impact of cancer. On this day, the organization attempts to recognize the challenges that are currently being faced by the global health community in light of the pandemic.
Moreover, the day is dedicated to the courage and achievements of front-liners and the people living with cancer. The event will highlight the importance of volunteers, advocates, and anyone who takes this initiative to improve the working conditions and treatment facilities of cancer patients.
UICC will also highlight the stories of real-life heroes who’ve won their health battles and shown remarkable progress by adopting these innovative responses. The idea is to engage people in a conversation about collective efforts, sustainability, and equity.
“The pandemic revealed the enormous ability of the cancer community to adapt and unify under a crisis. This World Cancer Day more than ever underscores the need for all of us to come together as we push forward progress in 2021.”– Dr Cary Adams, UICC CEO
Here’s what the UICC members have lined up for the international cancer community for World Cancer Day 2021:
Launch of Cancer Control Plans
In the last few decades, every country has tried to level up and launched their respective national cancer plans. Last year, three governments – Malawi, Poland, and Rwanda – were the last to join the bandwagon as they launched their new national cancer control plan.
The French National Institute of Cancer will launch a 10-year strategy to fight cancer. This event will be held virtually and anyone can attend it.
Virtual Talks, Conferences, and Exchanges
There have been countless summits in the previous years, shedding light on the importance of cancer prevention and tobacco control. This year, it seems inevitable that the link between cancer and covid-19 will be highlighted and most debated on. The World Cancer Day is a hub where there is exchange of information, debates, and enlightening conversations.
This year, Cancer X will be hosting a week – sharing and exchanging ideas in Japan. Meanwhile, there will be joint conferences by the American University, Beirut Medical Centre, and the King of Hussein Cancer Center. Together, they’ll allow experts from around the world to share the stage and discuss cancer control in light of the pandemic.
Community Engagement and Mobilizing Supporters
This day is an opportunity for cancer organization from around the globe to engage and raise awareness about cancer and to motivate people to take action. Several musical groups will be performing to raise funds and promote the lesson of love, strength, and hope.
The Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon (CCCL) will also be seen hosting a virtual session on “Eliminating Cervical Cancer” – Speaker, Dr. GhinaGhaziri (Obstetrician and Gynecologist) working with the American University of Beirut Medical Center will be conducting an interactive session dedicated to cancer survivors, patients, staff, and their families.
Virtual Wellness and Physical Activities
There will be a number of group activities like walks, runs, dances, and dragon boating to boost awareness. A lot of these will be live streamed and conducted virtually.
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has announced a full day of online yoga and meditation sessions in an attempt to raise funds that will be used in conducting medical research and making progress in the treatment.
Thus, a lot will be happening on the 4th of Feb, 2021, and if you care about the cause, do ensure that you make time and effort to not just attend these events online but also make donations.
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Thus, the 10 ways to make notable contribution to UICC community on the World Cancer Day 2021 is via creating engagement – participate in virtual activities designed for raising awareness!