Monday marks World Cancer Day

Slide depicting positive identification of HER2 in cell membranes

Slide depicting positive identification of HER2 in cell membranes

Around 110 women die every day and 40,000 every year due to breast cancer in Pakistan which is alarming and demands us to act quickly and effectively to counter the menace. The risk of HPV exposure and thereby the risk of Cervical Cancer increases when one has multiple sexual partners and especially women with a history of sexually transmitted diseases, as well as smoking.

Importantly, and as the theme of this year's World Cancer Day - 'I am and I will' - emphasizes, each of us can be a changemaker.

A new 3-year campaign started under the slogan: "I am and I will be", reported NOVA TV.

The campaign is an empowering call-to-action, urging for personal commitment and represents the power of individual action to impact the future. Education on the symptoms of cancer has also helped with early diagnosis as it is estimated that one in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime.

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A year ago there were more than 18 million new cases of cancer diagnosed globally, according to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). For example, in the United Kingdom we screen for bowel cancer at 50, and for cervical cancer at 25, but what about people who don't fit into these age brackets? The primary goal of World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer and it is an opportunity to rally the worldwide community to end the injustice of preventable suffering from cancer. One of these movements is #NoHairSelfie, a global movement to have "hairticipants" shave their heads either physically or virtually to show a symbol of courage for those undergoing cancer treatment.

To make that happen, effective cancer screening services must be available at both secondary and primary facilities, while health workers must be trained to identify the signs and symptoms that could lead to a positive diagnosis.

Uwankindi says that to fight cervical cancer, there is need for a good vaccination programme. The government must make policies to build a national cancer prevention and control system and emphasize on individuals' role in cancer prevention. In addition, they proposed that there be more support offered to children who have a parent battling cancer. Nonetheless, inventions after another rendered them curable but such did not halt the proliferation of even more lethal diseases, like cancer. With the disease being such a major health problem in the country, all hands must be on deck for prevention or early detection with a view to making cure and management possible. That includes going beyond the fanfare of a launch.

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