World Cancer Day takes place on 4th February 2021. It is a global initiative day led by the Union for International Cancer Control, aiming to raise international awareness, improve education, and encourage action, whether that be on the part of individuals, communities, or government.
On this day every year hundreds of groups around the world mobilise to remind everyone we all have a role to play in reducing the global impact of cancer, with a vision that one day millions of preventable cancer deaths are avoided, with equal care and life-saving treatment accessible to all, no matter where they come from.
The theme for this year’s World Cancer Day is ‘I Am and I Will’, which involves making a pledge to take action to help reduce the devastating impact of cancer. This can be achieved through the ‘World Cancer Day 21 Days to Impact Challenge’, where you can sign up to one of five challenges:
– I Will Focus On My Health
– I Will Support Someone I Know With Cancer
– I Will Speak Up About Cancer
– I Will Get Informed About Cancer
– I Will Help Eliminate Cervical Cancer
You can go to https://www.worldcancerday.org/21DayChallenge for information on how to sign up for one of these challenges. Once signed up you will receive a daily email providing inspiration, information, and practical guidance to help you complete your chosen challenge.
Personally, I have signed up to the ‘I Will Speak Up About Cancer’ challenge. I have been inspired by the work of local charity Dash of Silver, which helps raise awareness of cancers affecting men, including how to perform a self-examination to check for testicular cancer.
I find it alarming that 1 in 3 men does not know how important it is to perform a monthly self-examination, and that 42% of men do not even know how to perform a self-examination. This is deeply concerning considering testicular cancer rates are increasing, with a 24% increase since the early 1990s, and a projected further 12% rise between 2014 and 2035. Rates have grown to the extent that 2,300 new cases of testicular cancer occur in the UK every year, with an average of 6 new diagnoses every single day.
Throughout my 21 Day Challenge I hope particularly to raise awareness of male cancer, with the hope that, for example, I can encourage as many men as possible to perform a monthly self-examination, so that any lumps, change in size, or irregularities in their testicles are detected as soon as possible. Dash of Silver’s advice on how to perform a self-examination can be found here.
Monthly self-examinations are important because Testicular cancer is usually curable, especially when it is diagnosed early. Furthermore, in cases where testicular cancer has been diagnosed at an early stage, often surgical removal of the affected testicle is the only treatment needed. If testicular cancer is discovered at a later stage, more invasive surgery may be required if the cancer has spread, together with radiotherapy and several cycles of chemotherapy.
If you join me in signing up for a ‘World Cancer Day 21 Days to Impact Challenge’, together through our positive actions we can work towards the aim of reducing the number of premature deaths from cancer by one third by 2030.
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