Don’t delay cancer screening

Create a future without cancer.
The time to act is now.

4 February each year is World Cancer Day.  World Cancer Day is an initiative by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).  UICC is the leading international non-governmental organisation that unites the cancer community to reduce the global cancer burden, to promote greater equity, and to integrate cancer control into the world health and development agenda.

This year’s theme is “Close the Care Gap”.  This World Cancer Day, let us recognise the power of knowledge.  Cancer occurs when the body’s cells begin to divide continuously.  These cells then continue to grow and spread into surrounding tissues.  Understanding the signs, symptoms and treatment options is critical to catching the disease early and improving the outcome.

The importance of World Cancer Day

The global cancer epidemic is huge and is set to rise.  Cancer has become the epidemic of the modern age, with the global burden doubling over the past 30 years.  Currently, 8.2 million people die from cancer worldwide every year, out of which 4 million are premature deaths (aged 30 to 69 years).  According to stats from the National Cancer Registry (NCR), 1 in 4 South Africans are affected by cancer.  This highlights the importance of continued cancer screening and treatment.

Many cancers progress rapidly and delaying cancer screening often means it is too late to treat.  A growing concern is that the COVID19 pandemic resulted in delayed cancer screening and treatment.  This causes long-term consequences in morbidity and mortality.