“World Cancer Day, every 4th February, empowers individuals and communities all over the world to make forward progress in the fight against cancer. Coordinated by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), World Cancer Day is the single initiative that unites and rallies the world’s voices to raise awareness of cancer in a positive and inspiring way” – quote from UICC.
Since the inception and adoption of the “WeCanICan” slogan three years ago, Women in Action have spread awareness in various forms to the public to help individuals have a better understanding of the disease and not to look at the “stigmas” surrounding it.
With 2018 being the last year of the “WeCanICan” campaign, Women in Action took to the streets in major cities, Durban, Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg, handing out pamphlets on awareness and being available to answer questions. Their campaign focused on the basic questions someone might have about the disease: “what is cancer”, “how do I get cancer”, “will I die if I have cancer”, “how is the disease treated”, to name a few.
The simplicity of the evangelism drew a great response as it opened the way for individuals to ask without feeling judged or condemned. In Durban, there was a case of a woman with womb cancer who said she would come for further counselling. In Johannesburg, where people are always on the move, some took the time to sit down and talk. One man said his wife had womb cancer and he was concerned about whether she would die. The volunteer was able to advise him to come with his wife for counselling and better information. In Cape Town WiA volunteers met a woman who had been in denial for two years, but was helped with proper guidance on what needed to be done.
Although much information is generally available, many people are still unaware of many aspects of the disease and its implications. The greater the awareness, the better each individual will be informed. It’s a cycle which cannot be stopped, but keeps on turning.
We believe that many were left with a better understanding of the disease, no longer have to deal with doubts and we hope that the information they received will be passed on to their neighbours, relatives, friends and colleagues, creating a ripple effect through society.
Yes, think “WeCanICan” – together we can make a difference.
Key Cancer Facts from the World Health Organisation (WHO)
• 8.8 million people die from cancer every year – this number is predicted to rise to 13 million by 2030
• One third of common cancers are preventable
• Cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide
• 65% of cancer deaths occur in low-to-middle income countries
• Up to 3.7 million lives could be saved each year by implementing resource-appropriate strategies for prevention, early detection and treatment
• The total annual economic cost of cancer is estimated at approximately US$1.16 trillion