BREAST CARE INTERNATIONAL JOINS OVER 113 COUNTRIES TO CELEBRATE WORLD CANCER DAY 2021, AS GHANA’S CASES SHOOT UP.
World Cancer Day takes place every year on 4th February and is the uniting global initiative under which the world comes together to raise the profile of cancer in a positive and inspiring way. Spearheaded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and improving education about the disease while calling for action from governments and individuals across the world.
World Cancer Day 2021 is led by the theme “I Am and I Will”, an empowering call for personal commitment that represents the power of our actions taken now to reduce the growing impact of cancer.
Unlike previous years where local and international associations and communities around the world come together to hold events dedicated to raising awareness and educating about cancers, this year in light of the pandemic, the cancer community is showing considerable resilience and creativity. Many new activities will be taking place in virtual or hybrid format to replace in-person events that may no longer be allowed to take place, such as awareness walks and public seminars. The widespread impact of the pandemic will make it harder for countries to achieve certain sustainable development goals, in particular health targets and universal health coverage.
Addressing the media, Chairperson of the Ghana Non-Communicable Disease Alliance (GhNCDA), Chairperson of the Ghana Cancer Board and President of Breast Care International, Dr. (Mrs.) Beatrice Wiafe Addai stressed that, Covid-19 did not come to stop cancers, neither did it come to trade places with the cancers. She admitted that covid-19 and its attendant socio-economic challenges has deprived many of income, but said this temporary burden should not preclude people with suspected cancer cases from accessing quality health care, saying “our health, is our wealth”. She explained various strategies BCI adopted to disseminate information about breast cancer to the general public (eg using community-based information centers, radio, flyers, WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, tweeter etc.) to remind them of their Breast Self-Examination (BSE) and breast health care. She also educated the public to adhere to the covid-19 protocols, washing of hands with soap under running water, the use of face masks, the use of alcohol – based hand sanitizers and if possible stay at home.
Globocan 2020 report estimates that 24,009 new cases of cancer occur annually in Ghana, out of which 15,802 die. The most common cancers are Breast (4,482 – 2,055), Liver (3,452 – 3,166), Cervix (2797 – 1,699), Prostate (2,129 – 1,117). “Our cancer figures have seen a surge since 2018, and this calls for serious attention. Breast cancer is still the number one cause of death among Ghanaian women as far as cancers are concerned. Liver cancers, which has the highest mortality, is preventable, likewise cervical and must be dealt with appropriately. Finding cancers as early as possible gives one a better chance of successful treatment, she stressed.
About Breast Care International (BCI)
Established in 2002 as a non-governmental organization in Ghana, Breast Care International (BCI) is a leading breast cancer advocacy organization in Africa and Globally, providing enabling environment to enhance early detection and reduce the late stage presentation of breast cancer in Ghana. BCI is a registered member of UICC. The mission of BCI is to bring hope, health, and empowerment to communities in Ghana through the provision and dissemination of quality breast cancer education, screening, counseling, advocacy, research, treatment, and support to intensify breast cancer awareness and improve the quality of life of women at risk of getting breast cancer.
Dr. Cary Adams, CEO of UICC said: “COVID-19 has impacted cancer control globally and the response by the cancer community has been extraordinary, heroic even. This year, more than ever, it is appropriate that we celebrate their achievements on World Cancer Day. Let us all aim in 2021 to refocus our collective efforts on the long-term challenges that cancer poses to every country in the world. We must prevent more, diagnose earlier and ensure that all people living with cancer have access to the quality treatment they need.” World Cancer Day 2021 is dedicated to the courage and achievements of people living with cancer and their families, as well as the nurses, doctors, researchers, volunteers, advocates and others who care for them and work on their behalf – and calls for everyone in helping to save lives from this disease.
About the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)
The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) is the largest and oldest international cancer-fighting organization. Founded in Geneva in 1933, UICC has over 1,200 member organizations in 172 countries. It enjoys consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and has official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). UICC has over 50 partners, including associations, companies and foundations committed to the fight against cancer. UICC is a founding member of the NCD Alliance, the McCabe Centre for Law & Cancer and the International Cancer Control Partnership (ICCP) and established the City Cancer Challenge Foundation in January 2019. UICC’s mission is to both unite and support the cancer community in its efforts to reduce the global cancer burden, promote greater equity and ensure that cancer control remains a priority on the global health and development agenda. It pursues these goals by bringing together global leaders through innovative and far-reaching cancer-control events and initiatives, building capacities to meet regional needs and developing awareness campaigns. For more information, please visit: www.worldcancerday.org, www.breastcareinternational.org, and www.bciamerica.org