World Cancer Day 2021
Hats off to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) team for a highly successful three-year initiative to help alleviate the growing global cancer burden.
We should remember that in the last 12 months, more than 10 million people died from cancer. Furthermore, by the end of this decade that figure will likely rise to more than 13 million annually.
While this year’s World Cancer Day was inevitably overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has stretched health resources and impacted cancer treatment, our personal commitment remains as strong as ever.
Here’s a brief roundup of what City Cancer Challenge (C/Can) cities around the world did on 4 February to mark World Cancer Day, 2021.
Tbilisi organised a one-week awareness virtual program under the auspices of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), together with the WHO office in Georgia to discuss progress and the challenges of cancer control and care, as well as presenting the five-year population based cancer registry results.
“Working with C/Can has been very useful in our fight against cancer. Local needs have been identified and we have multidisciplinary teams of healthcare professionals as well as cross-sectoral stakeholders addressing them,” said Nana Mebonia, Head of the Chronic Diseases and Injuries Division at the NCDC.
This year, Rwanda focused on cancer prevention and control by including aspects of Covid-19 prevention for cancer survivors and people with different NCDs. Due to the lockdown, events took place online, as well as on television and radio and in newspapers and social media. World Cancer Day culminated in a webinar panel discussion on cervical cancer elimination strategies in Rwanda.
“Because of the pandemic, the City of Kigali has reinvented its outreach to remain connected to our communities, cancer survivors, and everybody affected by cancer in the global fight against this disease. We are committed to providing equitable access to cancer care and treatment in the city,” explained Patricie Mukagarambe, Head of Public Health & Environmental Unit, the City of Kigali.
A series of virtual events aimed at raising awareness underscored the importance of quality data to support the city’s efforts to reduce the impact of cancer. As part of activities to mark the day in the current COVID-19 pandemic, there was a soft launch of the Kumasi cancer registry office, an important milestone in Ghana’s cancer control and care strategy.
“We have formed multidisciplinary teams as a practical necessity for optimal coordination among us, health professionals, and for clear communication with patients to better fight the cancer burden,” said Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai, Consultant Breast Surgeon and CEO, Peace and Love Hospitals, Kumasi.
ProPacífico, C/Can’s sustainability partner, organised a series of events that saw four landmarks illuminated. The Secretary of Municipal Health, Dr Miyerlandi Torres, produced a video explaining the significance of World Cancer Day. ProPacífico has also created a video posted on social networks.
Among the initiatives organised around World Cancer Day in Paraguay were the inauguration of improvements at the National Cancer Hospital, the publication of videos tutorials of choreography and exercises for cancer patients, an informational pamphlet detailing risk factor prevention and a request for approval of the Cancer Registry Surveillance Sheet.
The Renaci Foundation organised educational activities and talks focused on raising awareness of childhood cancer, while the United Cancer Foundation prepared an awareness talk.
Porto Alegre, Brazil
Porto Alegre was very active on World Cancer Day, leading gatherings and walks to increase cancer awareness in the city with the support of local patient groups. As a result of the pandemic, the patient groups have modified their strategy and this year organised a flash mob in the city centre with the participation of patients and volunteers ensuring social distancing and face masks. The “Use a Scarf” campaign invited people to post a picture on social media wearing a scarf to increase cancer care awareness.
C/Can supported project coordinators and technical working groups to create posters with the #IamandIwill campaign to give visibility to healthcare workers in the city who are also part of the Porto Alegre project teams.
Finally, a meeting between the new Health Municipality leader (Mauro Sparta) and City Executive Committee members took place to explain the value and impact to date of C/Can’s efforts.
To commemorate World Cancer Day, the city of Leon illuminated the Arco Triunfal Calzada de los Héroes, one of the most important landmarks in the city. C/Can will be asking MoU signatories to share on their social media accounts the World Cancer Day poster with their photo and a quote in order to position them as a cancer leader and empower others to participate and talk about cancer.
Greater Petaling, Malaysia
To commemorate World Cancer Day and International Childhood Cancer Day, C/Can Greater Petaling is teaming up with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Malaya, the National Cancer Society of Malaysia, and the Ministry of Health for a joint live session “Breakfast with FOM” on 17 February. The title of the talk is City Cancer Challenge, Greater Petaling: an Implementation Framework for Cancer Control. C/Can Head of Policy and Impact, Rebecca Morton Doherty and Norlin Ghazali have been invited to share their experiences, followed by the main stakeholders, Prof Nur Aishah Mohd Taib from the University of Malaya and Dr Murallitharan Munisamy to discuss CSO roles. The Ministry of Health of Malaysia will be represented by Dr Feisul Idzwan b. Dato’ Mustapha, Consultant Public Health Physician and Deputy Director (NCD), Non-Communicable Disease Section, Disease Control.
Given the recent events in Myanmar, events planned for World Cancer Day have been postponed.