Today 04TH FEBRUARY is a special day for many people in the world all over. It is very important for 18 million people of last year, 19 million more people this year and has been important to many millions of people so far. It will be important to increasing numbers each year and the future generations to come. This is not like other celebration days when gifts, cards, greetings are exchanged, and festivities happen. There are no crackers, to burst or flowers to distribute. There are no special treats or foods or parties. There is no exchange of hugs, greetings or messages or tell jokes about. It is not a day to pay tributes to some heroes, celebrate festival or an event either.
This is the day to remind ourselves, of the looming danger over all us today and for our next generations in the future. It did not and will not spare anyone irrespective of richness, literacy, status, position, profession, country, race, religion, age, or gender. This menace has quietly victimized many in the past and will victimize many more in future. When victimized, in the victims, there is agony, pain, anguish, anger, frustration, tears and many a times victory too!!
The so-called development, industrialization, innovations of all kinds of machines, new chemicals, environmental changes, have facilitated a change in our lifestyles and habits. From laborious, active, simple past routine in a pure environment, we hopped into to an industrious, machinery, inactive routine in a polluted environment. We added on many artificial, chemical and unknowingly hazardous things in our life. Unfortunately, the development of the society has led to the development of an unseen giant of non-communicable diseases- diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart diseases, strokes and of course cancer.
The change in our lifestyle has just not changed our diet, habits, way of living, appearances, behaviours but penetrated into the very deep and ultimate core of our beings -- the genes. These changes in genes have brought in a tendency of indiscipline in our cells, total autonomy, tendency to ignore the natural calls for control, and body limits. They have learnt to grow uncontrollably, cross all limits, borders and spread anywhere, drain the body energy and mass to the least possible and ultimately cessation of life. Identifying and control of these cells requires a lot of energy, strategies, medicines, rays and skills almost with military precision. This is possible but when done at the right time and manner.
Yes, you have guessed it right, we are talking about cancer! Please don’t stop reading ! it is very much relevant to you ! Even you could be a victim tomorrow! Would like to remind you of innocent young men and women who are victims of cancer as the wise and elderly. We are seeing more younger people than ever before. Am I not reminded of a 14 year old boy with a stage 4 colon cancer or a 23 year old young girl with breast cancer ! Visit any oncologist’s clinics all over India, more stories will pour out.
Friends, today 4th February is world cancer day. World Cancer Day is the one singular initiative under which the entire world can unite together in the fight against the global cancer epidemic. What do we do on this day and thereafter? Not just talk or read and forget or make it a point to mention! There is a need for each of us in this world, irrespective of whatever we are or wherever we are to learn, plan, act and change. Gain knowledge about cancer, and spread it ! To make people aware of cancer, its impact on an individual and his family and society.
So what do we learn about cancer? Simple. It is a life style disease as is diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity etc. Therefore it is very much preventable, simply by adopting healthy lifestyle. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, avoid red meat and processed meat, maintain ideal body weight, exercise well, don’t use tobacco, follow healthy sexual habits, vaccinate against infections, and let mothers breast feed the new born.
It is possible to detect cancer early. Look out for lumps and unexplained and unusual symptoms. Consult your physician or local hospital or cancer centre. Consult oncologists for family cancers or if there is a doubt. It is possible to treat and cure cancers. Let the oncologists handle and treat promptly and correctly. Talking of costs! Yes for those who can’t manage on their own, there are many ways to manage them. Several government hospitals, offices, NGOs, hospitals provide free care and financial assistance. Just guide them! For the young, healthy and self-sufficient, there is a small piece of advice. The way you have insured your bike or car, insure for your and family’s health! They are more important than your car or bike!
There are several myths about the cancer. That it is incurable, it is infectious, it is a curse, starvation can cure cancer, biopsy or surgery will spread it, chemotherapy kills the patients, and so on. Bust these myths ! They are dangerous and keep the people from doing right things. More important, don’t spread rumours or wrong, unauthenticated, unproven information! When you confront some information or message first check, find out, question rather than blindly believing it and forwarding it! Don’t be a victim or let someone become a victim of unauthentic information!
Let us come to some hard facts. About 18 million people are diagnosed in the world with cancer each year and 1.3 million in India. These join the vast cancer world of 30 million. The numbers are likely to go up by at least 50 % by 2040. It is the second common cause of death in the world but responsible for most expensive economic toll. The total direct cost of cancer in the world, in 2008 was approximately 895 billion US dollars, representing 1.5 % world GDP. Indirect costs can be imagined to wildest extent. Give this figure the inflation and increase of 25% absolute increase in numbers of cancer patients in last decade. Calculators may stop working!!
I am sure you would have got up to do something for caner today and from today onwards. Take more people and join as a force to fight cancer. Start today, on the world cancer day and let some time in your life be devoted to it. One does not have to worry about resources for this work. Visit https://www.worldcancerday.org/materials of UICC, the world organization for cancer, which observes the world cancer day on 04th February each year. India is an active member of this organization. You can join it free as an individual or with your friends or team or organization. Obtain the material, learn, and spread the messages. You too say “I am and I will” with the world !. Get involved in any way. Because together we can bring the change. Let us all dream and work for a ‘cancer free world’ - for us, our future generations, by preventing cancer, detecting early, treating cancer. Bust the myths and spread the awareness.