February 4 is World Cancer Day – a key international awareness day coordinated by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). This is the second year of UICC’s Close the Care Gap campaign to highlight the need for equitable access to life-saving cancer treatment and quality care for people around the world.
An estimated 85,100 people in Canada died from cancer in 2022 (Canadian Cancer Society), making cancer the leading cause of death in the country.
To mark and support this important day, the Partnership’s CEO, Dr. Craig Earle, bylined an article in the Globe and Mail. The article illustrates why cancer care and achieving health equity must remain a priority, especially against the backdrop of healthcare and cancer systems severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; how the Partnership supported partners across Canada to deliver innovative cancer care throughout the pandemic; and key areas where cancer care can be improved.
In the article, Dr. Earle writes about how the Partnership’s work to achieve the vision of the 2019-2029 Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control (the Strategy) aligns with the World Cancer Day theme of closing the care gap.
Excerpt from the Globe and Mail article:
The Partnership is also working to support pandemic recovery and help map out a shared way forward. This includes The Road to Recovery: Cancer in the COVID-19 Era, a report that highlights innovative work underway and identifies improvements to boost cancer system capacity and save lives.
Although we are making strides, our work is not yet done. We are continuing our focus on cancer in three key areas:
- Healthcare human resources: Canada’s cancer care professionals continue to do their utmost to provide excellent care through wave after wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite overwhelming pressures. However, the disruptions are taking their toll. The burden on healthcare workers is heavy, leading to burnout and contributing to delays in cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment.
- Preparing for a surge in cancer cases: Disruptions in prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment services that occurred throughout the pandemic are expected to lead to a surge in cancers diagnosed at more advanced stages with increased care needs in the months and years to come. The system needs more capacity to meet these needs of patients, including necessary resources for cancer surgeries and procedures, and attention to the psychological, social, emotional and spiritual impacts on people whose cancer diagnosis and treatment may have been delayed.
- Building on new ways of delivering care, including those supported by digital technologies: There are new approaches to care that can help to address system capacity and access constraints. In particular, innovations in virtual and digital health and navigation that arose during the pandemic can be game-changing for people affected by cancer and if done properly can help to improve equity.
World Cancer Day will be recognized across Canada with the following landmarks lit in orange and blue on February 4:
- Canada Place Sails of Light, Vancouver, British Columbia
- Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia
- High-Level Bridge, Edmonton, Alberta
- The Forks Winnipeg Sign, Winnipeg, Manitoba
- CN Tower, Toronto, Ontario
- Toronto Sign, Toronto, Ontario
- Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls, Ontario
- Ottawa Sign, Ottawa, Ontario
- Halifax City Hall, Halifax, Nova Scotia
- Government House, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
About World Cancer Day 2023
World Cancer Day takes place every year on February 4 and is a key international awareness day that unites the world in the fight against cancer. Coordinated by UICC, World Cancer Day 2023 is taking place under the theme “Close the Care Gap” and focuses on joining forces, celebrating real-world progress, and encouraging the momentum to start to reach equity. World Cancer Day is a chance to learn with an open mind, challenge assumptions and take action to stand up for a world less burdened by cancer.
To learn more about World Cancer Day, visit www.worldcancerday.org.