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WHO, ARFH, others mark World Cancer Day 2023

The Association for Reproductive and Family Health in association with the World Health Organization join the world to mark the 2023 World Cancer Day.

The WCD is marked every February 4 to celebrate real-world progress, not just in innovation and medical advances but even the humblest of actions that can have a significant impact.

The ARFH Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Kehinde Osinowo, notes that cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, representing nearly one in six deaths globally.

This is supported by the World Health Organization, which reiterates that the World Cancer Day 2023 marks the second year of the three-year ‘Close the Care Gap’ campaign centred on the issue of equity.

Also, The Union for International Cancer Control notes that this year’s theme marks the second year of the campaign “close the Care Gap,” which is about understanding the inequities in cancer care and taking actions to make the necessary progress to address them.

According to the National Library of Medicine, “Globally, cancer is a major leading health problem with an estimated 10 million incidences and 6 million cancer deaths annually.

“In Nigeria, an estimated 72,000 cancer deaths occur annually, and 102,000 new cases are diagnosed from its population of 200 million people.”

The NLM adds that “These are, however, estimates,” noting that “it is necessary to document the yearly trends and patterns of cancer mortality with regard to the different regions in the country.”

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World Cancer Day aims to promote awareness on cancer as a public health issue and to strengthen actions towards improving access to quality care, screening, early detection, treatment and palliative care.

This year’s theme marks the second year of the campaign “close the care gap” which is about understanding the inequities in cancer care and taking actions to make the necessary progress to address them.

The WHO advises persons living with cancer to be aware of their susceptibility to COVID-19. “People with cancer may develop COVID-19 symptoms faster and may require ICU admission if they do not seek medical care,” WHO warns.

On World Cancer Day 2023, various activities will take place globally, including the “5k Challenge” by the UICC, encouraging individuals from all backgrounds to participate in activities such as running, cycling, swimming, hiking or walking to symbolize closing the gap in care.

Additionally, there will be “21-day challenges” for individuals to create new healthy habits, raise awareness about cervical cancer, and educate themselves about inequalities in accessing cancer services.

The Day will also focus on examining the socioeconomic factors that lead to disparities in cancer prevention, incidence and survival, such as cultural and gender norms, income and education levels, and biases based on age, gender, ethnicity, disability and lifestyle.

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Additionally, there will be a call for increased action to improve cancer awareness, prevent cancer, support advancements in diagnostics and treatment, and address the shortcomings in health systems highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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