The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) has encouraged South African citizens to support the third year of the World Cancer Day campaign.
The slogan for this year is: ‘We can, I can’.
World Cancer Day takes place each year on 4 February, providing the platform for the world to unite and raise the profile of cancer in a positive and inspiring way.
CANSA CEO Elize Joubert said the aim in 2018 is to inspire healthy cities and communities to fight cancer.
“We recognise the vital role that schools, libraries, health clinics, service groups, sports clubs and education professionals play in promoting and educating the next generation about their health and well-being.
“World Cancer Day is an opportunity for teachers, librarians, students, health practitioners and parents to learn more, raise awareness, take action and engage in this critically important health issue. We invite communities across the world on 4 February to support the… fight against cancer,” Joubert said.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and the number of new cases is expected to rise by about 70% over the next two decades.
Approximately 8.2 million people die from the disease worldwide every year, of which four million are premature deaths of people aged 30 to 69 years.
In South Africa, 55 286 new cases of cancer were reported in 2008 to the National Cancer Registry (NCR), and 52% of these cases were women and children. In 2012, 77 440 cases were referred to the NCR.
The latest Statistics SA figures show a steady increase in deaths attributable to cancer from 5.6% in 2006 to 9.1% in 2015.
Get moving for health
CANSA urges everyone to be more active in every sense in the fight against cancer by incorporating sport-related and wellness activities into daily routines.
“Physical activity has been shown to combat cancer, including risk reduction, helping cancer patients manage the side-effects of treatment such as fatigue, depression and heart damage,” Joubert said.
She encouraged citizens to team up with local sport heroes, clubs and organisations and create activities or events to bring greater awareness to the cancer cause, through walking, bike rides, dance classes or yoga events.
“Local sports clubs can promote the day with in-stadium messaging, donate proceeds from ticket sales to CANSA, or simply use the power of their networks by spreading the word on social media.
“Schools throughout South Africa need to champion healthy behaviours for learners, educators and parents. This will not only assist in the battle against cancer, it will also help to lower the cancer risk and manage other non-communicable diseases,” Joubert said.
People can also raise awareness and amplify awareness about fighting cancer with their communities and contacts by downloading World Cancer Day selfie posters.
Print the messages that are meaningful to you, and share your selfie and message, using the hashtags #WorldCancerDay #WeCanICan, on your social media platforms.
Light up the city
Other ways to show support for World Cancer Day is to get cities to light up iconic landmarks to raise awareness.
Joubert noted that in previous years, international cities signalled their commitment to the global challenge of cancer by lighting up major landmarks in blue.
“Cities and towns also provide a valuable platform in promoting and protecting public health. It would be fantastic to add iconic landmarks in South Africa to that list and we hope that cities will embrace this visual symbolic idea and light up on 4 February. City or provincial representatives can contact the closest CANSA care centre to make arrangements.
“Progress in controlling cancer can only be achieved by gaining support from all stakeholders including government, business, schools, communities and individuals.
“Today, more than ever, a global commitment is needed to advance progress in the fight against cancer and non-communicable diseases. World Cancer Day is the perfect opportunity to spread the word and create a global awareness of the disease in international media and global health and development programmes,” Joubert said.