Health

National Cancer Awareness Day 2021: Theme, History, and Significance

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Around 1.1 million new cases are reported every year in India. (Image: Shutterstock)

National Cancer Awareness Day is observed on this day as it is the birth anniversary of Madame Curie, a prominent scientist remembered for her efforts and contribution in the battle against cancer

November 7 is observed as the National Cancer Awareness Day to raise awareness about the second leading cause of death globally, Cancer. The date was announced for this occasion in September 2014 by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, who was the Minister of Health back then. This particular date was selected as it is the Birth anniversary of Madame Curie, a prominent scientist remembered for her efforts and contribution in the battle against cancer. She is revered for her discovery of radium and polonium.

It was her remarkable work that was instrumental in the development of nuclear energy and radiotherapy for treating the deadly disease.

In 1975, National Cancer Control Programme was started in India. The vision behind it was to establish cancer treatment facilities in the nation. In 1984-85, the vision changed to focus on early detection and prevention of cancer.

Around 1.1 million new cases are reported every year in India. The probability of survival in India is very less as two-thirds of the cases are diagnosed at advanced stage. Lungs cancer and cancer of the oral cavity are a big cause of death among males while breast cancer and cancer of the oral cavity account for a large number of cancer cases among females. According to an estimate, a woman dies every 8 minutes in India due to cervical cancer.

Early detection of cancer in the initial stages can significantly reduce the number of deaths. It is also an essential part of the fight against cancer as it also reduces the cost of treatment by a great amount compared to the cost incurred when treated at a later stage.

On this day, people are encouraged to visit government hospitals, CGHS, and municipal clinics for a free screening. Distribution of information booklets to raise awareness on ways to prevent cancer and about early symptoms is a common way to observe this day.

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