Kolkata: World Cancer Day, organized by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and celebrated each year on February 4 is an opportunity to rally the international community to end the injustice of preventable suffering from cancer.
To mark this day, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the state government
has made treatment of all types of cancer completely free in state-run hospitals, including
free medicine, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and free beds.
"Today is #WorldCancerDay. From 2015, our Govt in #Bangla has made treatment of all
types of cancer completely free in state-run hospitals, including free medicine, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and free beds," Ms Banerjee tweeted.
"Let us encourage more research for the early detection and cure of cancer," she added.The World Health Organization (WHO) today spells out the need to step up cancer services
in low and middle-income countries.
WHO warns that, if current trends continue, the world will see a 60 per cent increase in
cancer cases over the next two decades. The greatest increase (an estimated 81 per cent)
in new cases will occur in low- and middle-income countries, where survival rates are
This is largely because these countries have had to focus limited health resources on
combating infectious diseases and improving maternal and child health, while health
services are not equipped to prevent, diagnose and treat cancers.
In 2019, more than 90 per cent of high-income countries reported that comprehensive
treatment services for cancer were available in the public health system compared to less
than 15 per cent of low-income countries.
"This is a wake-up call to all of us to tackle the unacceptable inequalities between cancer
services in rich and poor countries," says Dr Ren Minghui, Assistant Director-General, Universal Health Coverage/ Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases, World Health Organization.
"If people have access to primary care and referral systems then cancer can be detected early, treated effectively and cured. Cancer should not be a death sentence for anyone, anywhere."
Yet, progress in poorer countries is achievable. WHO and the International Agency for
Research on Cancer (IARC) are releasing two coordinated reports on World Cancer Day
February 4), in response to government calls for more research into the scope and potential
policies and programmes to improve cancer control.
"At least 7 million lives could be saved over the next decade, by identifying the most
appropriate science for each country situation, by basing strong cancer responses on
universal health coverage, and by mobilizing different stakeholders to work together",
said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO.(UNI)