World Cancer Day 2021: I am and I will

By Dr. Aditi Chaturvedi in Cancer Care / Oncology

Feb 05 , 2021 | 2 min read

Every year, 4th of February, is celebrated as ‘World Cancer Day; led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to create global awareness about cancer and its prevention, early diagnosis and treatment. This year’s theme is ‘I am and I will’ and it basically lays emphasis on every individual and his or her commitment to act in whatever capacity against cancer.

The rising cases of cancer across the globe means that it is no longer a disease far away for most of us. It is estimated that 10 million people die every year because of cancer- this is more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Every person, every family has been or is likely to be affected by this disease not necessarily directly but in some way whatsoever. We all know that one neighbour, colleague, family member, friend or acquaintance who has battled cancer or is battling cancer. So what can we do about it?

As healthcare professionals, especially us oncologists, the responsibility of treating cancer is just a part of our work. To combat this disease, we have to equip every person we meet or interact with more information, more awareness so that each one can do their bit for cancer.


Atleast one third of cancer cases across the globe are preventable. That is a huge number when we think of it and the most interesting thing is cancer prevention doesn’t necessarily need huge investment. It is very simple:

  1. Stay away from tobacco
  2. Avoid or limit alcohol intake
  3. Balanced diet: Avoid junk and processed food
  4. Regular exercise
  5. Vaccination against HPV (cervical cancer) and Hepatitis B (liver cancer)

The second thing which each one of us needs to be aware of is how to detect cancer early? Again, it is not rocket science because the symptoms of cancer are like of many other diseases: it can be just a lump or bump somewhere, change in bowel habits, a mouth ulcer, bleeding between periods or after menopause: anything which is UNUSUAL and PERSISTENT beyond a few weeks. It is not necessary to have pain or loss of appetite or weight to suspect cancer. We need to remember this and reach out to a medical team for proper evaluation instead of ignoring any unexplained symptom. Regular tests like Pap smears and Mammograms for women above the age of 40 should also be considered.

If each of us remembers this and passes on this information to people around us, we would be doing our bit in this global combat against cancer. So join us in our pledge. I am an individual and I will do my bit in raising awareness against cancer.