Thursday, February 4, 2021 marks World Cancer Day. This date was selected in 2000 by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) as a positive way to unite the globe in the fight against cancer. Statistics compiled by the American Cancer Society show that there were 17 million cancer cases diagnosed worldwide and 9.5 million deaths in 2018. The expected cancer burden in 2040 is 27.5 million cases and 16.3 million deaths. Clearly, this is a disease that annually exacts a great toll on humanity in terms of suffering and loss.
There is much that has been accomplished, however, and I remain hopeful that, together, we will continue to make great strides against cancer. American Cancer Society 2020 statistics show that in the United States, we have made progress in reducing the mortality from, breast, lung, colorectal and prostate cancers. This progress is due to advances in prevention, early diagnosis, aggressive and novel treatments in surgery, radiation and medical oncology. Much work remains to be done, however.
This year’s theme for World Cancer Day is “I Am and I Will”. Please, pause for a moment today and consider how you might contribute to this fight. Together, as one global family, we can continue to improve the lives of all.
- Dr. Ashwani Rajput, Director of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in the Greater Washington DC Area