National Awareness Cancer Day in India Date in the current year: November 7, 2024

National Awareness Cancer Day in India India observes National Awareness Cancer Day annually on November 7. This awareness day was launched in 2014 to highlight the importance of cancer prevention (when possible) and early detection, as well as to raise awareness of the National Cancer Control Programme.

According to statistics, over a million new cases of cancer are reported in India every year; two-thirds of cancer patients receive their diagnosis at an advanced stage, which significantly refuses their chances of survival. That is why the prevention and early detection of cancer is one of the top priorities of India’s healthcare policy.

The Government of India initiated the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) in 1975 in order to raise awareness of the importance of early cancer detection among the general public and make diagnostic resources more widely available. Another goal of the program was to improve the parts of the country’s healthcare system responsible for helping cancer patients and address the shortcomings of the palliative care system.

The NCCP has been revised several times. In the mid-1980s, its focus shifted toward reducing cancer mortality rates, primarily through early detection and prevention whenever possible. In the early 1990s, the program was decentralized to provide better services for cancer patients at the district level.

One of the biggest accomplishments of the NCCP is the launch of the National Cancer Registry in 1982. Although the registry does not include 100% of cancer patients in the country, it does provide relevant information about the effects of cancer on India’s population, helping decision-makers to enact the most effective policies regarding cancer prevention and detection.

The policies that have been enacted through the NCCP include providing additional funding to public hospitals that treat cancer patients, establishment of regional cancer centers, introduction of additional oncology programs in medical schools, policies to control tobacco use and alcohol consumption, programs to prevent obesity, and making cancer screening services available in public health centers, with a special focus on breast and cervical cancer.

The observance of National Cancer Day in India was initiated by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the then-Minister for Health and Family Welfare, in 2014. His main goal was to raise awareness about the importance of early cancer detection and encourage people to avoid lifestyles that may lead to the development of certain cancers.

The date of November 7 was chosen for a reason. It is the birthday of Marie Curie, a Polish and French physicist and chemist best known for her groundbreaking research on radioactivity. Curie led the first studies into the treatment of tumors by using radioactive isotopes; these studies were the first step toward the development of radiotherapy.

On the occasion of India’s National Cancer Day, awareness events focusing on the importance of prevention and early detection of cancer are held across the country. People are encouraged to participate by scheduling a check-up with a physician and getting a screening if they have experienced any strange symptoms lately, even if those symptoms don’t outright scream “Cancer!” (because the symptoms of a lot of types of cancer are non-specific, especially at early stages).

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