Every year on February 4th, World Cancer Day is observed around the globe to join together a whole nation in this steady battle against cancer. From raising awareness massively about cancer, to commemorating those heroes that suffer from cancer, and celebrating the amazing work of different partners that collaborate together to improve the cancer situation, World Cancer Day is another occasion for us to remember that we must act now to change the future of cancer. But let’s not wait for a specific date on the calendar to realize that cancer is an arduous fight that requires systematic efforts. Remember, cancer can affect anyone regardless of gender, status, religion, or social background.
This year, the theme retained for World Cancer Day is “Close the Care Gap”. It is undeniable that cancer care is different around the world. Not every country can provide the same level of adequate treatment for cancer patients. Those discrepancies often prevent a distinct group of people from having full access to the proper healthcare and services they need, either for their treatment, or for detection and prevention. The theme emphasizes the importance of identifying and addressing those discrepancies around the world. One key factor in curing cancer and saving lives remains the enhancement of health facilities and treatment. Having the right information about cancer is a power that should not be undermined.
Statistics On Cancer
In 2020, there were a total of 3050 new cases for both sexes and all ages in Mauritius. The five most frequent cancers, excluding non-melanoma skin cancer (ranked by cases) for both men and women, include: breast cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and stomach cancer (Source: Globocan 2020). Figures also demonstrate that in 2020, Mauritius recorded a total of 1504 deaths due to cancer. Even though cancer is a non-communicable disease, it is increasingly affecting a larger number of people. To prevent cancer-related deaths and save the lives of thousands of patients, we must act now by building awareness, encouraging early detection and prevention, as well as strengthening diagnostic facilities and cancer treatment facilities.
What Cancer Is Not…
“What Cancer Cannot Do…
Cancer is so limited
It cannot cripple love,
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace.
It cannot kill friendship,
It cannot suppress memories.
It cannot silence courage,
It cannot invade the soul.
It cannot steal eternal life,
It cannot conquer the spirit.”
Poem by Unknown Author
FMCI Contribution In This Battle
Since the beginning of its activities, the Falcon Memorial Cancer Institute (FMCI) has been actively working towards the realization of its different objectives. From patients diagnosed with any type of cancer, to their families, and surrounding healthcare experts, or the public in general, FMCI is dedicated to providing financial assistance to patients who need treatment both in Mauritius and abroad, as well as funding research-based cancer, purchasing medical equipment to treat cancer in hospitals, and maintaining a solid effort to spread widespread awareness about cancer to the population.
- To help reduce stigma and bring a change in cancer care in Mauritius, we must first understand why not everyone receives the right treatment and what the challenges are associated with that. From:
- expensive treatment that not everyone can afford, especially when requiring treatment in another country;
- a scarcity of skilled and experienced healthcare professionals, such as doctors and nurses;
- Lack of facilities and resources in oncology, especially for research;
- Inadequate or subpar medical equipment used to diagnose or treat cancer;
- There is a disparity in cancer care provided by public and private hospitals.
- In general, there is a scarcity of cancer treatment options.
To close the gap and give everyone the same chance to receive the right treatment, it is primordial to identify the factors that contribute to limiting the treatment that, very often, a group of people receives. Our association will pursue its mission and work closely with strategic partners to essentially: build and maintain massive awareness about cancer, its preventive measures, and healthy habits, sponsor cancer patients so that they receive the best treatment whether in Mauritius or abroad, and purchase medical equipment and necessary facilities.
We are conscious that winning this battle against cancer will not happen overnight, and with one finger clap. For a cancer-free Mauritius, each of us needs to ask ourselves: What can I do to reduce my risk of cancer? Keep in mind that cancer can happen to anyone; thus, being well informed about it and adopting preventive measures can be a giant leap. We all have a key role to play in this battle. As stated by Walter Payton, “Together we are stronger than we are alone.” World Cancer Day is more than just a day in the calendar. It’s building and inspiring a change for the long run, necessitating involvement and commitment every day. To take our mission one step ahead, the FMCI has opened a new branch in the USA. This is a real milestone in our battle against cancer.
Hope For Cancer Patients…
We often struggle to find the right words to support and comfort cancer patients as well as their loved ones. Messages of hope and inspiration can make a big difference for someone fighting cancer. For all those being affected by cancer, do not lose hope. Remember, you are tougher than cancer, and will always be!
“Cancer didn’t bring me to my knees, it brought me to my feet.” – Michael Douglas.
“We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up or fight like hell.” – Lance Armstrong
“You have to fight because if you don’t, you let the opponent win, and if your opponent is cancer, the results can be deadly.” – Lawrence Wray
“Cancer is a marathon – you can’t look at the finish line. You take it moment by moment, sometimes breath by breath, other times step by step.”Sarah Betz Bucciero