On February 4th, the world comes together to raise awareness for cancer to encourage its prevention, detection and treatment. This year, the theme of the global initiative is #IAmAndIWill — whoever you are, whatever you do, wherever in the world, your actions can make a lasting impact.
The global cancer burden in the 21st century
According to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), 9.6 million people die from cancer every year, and the number is predicted to double in the next ten years. In 2020, the estimated number of new cancer cases rose to over 19 million.
Last year was especially hard for many cancer patients and their loved ones, both physically on mentally. The COVID-19 pandemic has in many places led to more difficult access to treatment and delayed diagnoses. As clinical trials have had to pause, patients haven’t been able to access new therapy options, and the development of new treatments has also been on hold.
In addition to the devastating individual impact of cancer, it also constitutes a significant global financial burden every year. The growing incidence of cancer translates to growing costs for national healthcare budgets, as well as governments and private companies. According to the IARC World Cancer report 2014, the annual economic cost of cancer is estimated at 1.16 trillion US dollars.
Equity for all
One of the key issues highlighted by UICC this year are the problems in equity and access to life-saving cancer services. Cancer treatments and screening tests have developed immensely in the last few decades, but not everyone has access to the same services. In countries without universal health care, a cancer diagnosis can lead to great financial difficulties, and in some cases, people might not be able to afford life-saving treatments.
According to WHO, nearly 70% of all cancer deaths occur in developing countries. In many low- and middle income countries, cancers often get diagnosed when they are already very advanced and difficult to treat. The lack of awareness and cancer resources has led to a situation where people living in still developing economies are dying of cancers that may have been curable with timely detection and appropriate treatment. When it comes to cancer, early detection is often the key to success.
We are incredibly happy that our company has the possibility to take part in the development of new methods that will not only enable population level screening in developed economies, but hopefully in the future give low- and middle income countries easier access to cancer screening services. Encouraging people at risk to get screened plays an important part in creating a cancer-free future for everyone, equally.
Together, all our actions matter
The best results in cancer research and in the development of screening tests and treatments are reached together. Cooperation between the public and private sectors is essential, which is why we work closely together with our clinical advisors, who are all specialists in their respective fields. Without their help and input, our research would be impossible.
We here at Aqsens Health wanted to take part in this year’s World Cancer Day campaign by using our voices and raising awareness online. Cancer affects people’s lives all over the world, and it is a global issue we have to solve together. And we hope that you can also take action, however big or small, for a cancer-free world.
World Cancer Day is a global initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). Since 2000, UICC’s mission has been to raise awareness, improve education, and encourage people and governments around the world to take collective action to work together towards a cancer-free future. Read more about UICC’s goals on their website worldcancerday.org.