World Cancer Day

We Can. I Can

World Cancer Day Feb 4th 2017

Each year the UICC raises awareness with the annual event ‘World Cancer Day’. The world cancer day campaign aims to reach more people by raising awareness on specific cancer control solutions. The awareness and solutions are aimed to reach all levels; from members of the public to governmental policy implementation. Cancer interventions have to be forefront of health development agendas in the coming years to reduce the overall global burden of cancer. For the past two years the campaign message has been “We can. I can”. How can we help reduce the global burden of cancer? What can you do to help alleviate the impact of the disease on individuals, families and communities? Here are some of the messages that UICC want to spread for World Cancer Day 2017:

  • We can prevent cancer
  • We can challenge perceptions
  • We can join forces to make a difference
  • We can improve access to cancer care
  • I can make healthy lifestyle choices
  • I can ask for support I can make my voice heard

Krebsallianz as a member of UICC advocates to improve access to cancer treatments. With partners in many lower-middle income countries such as Honduras, The Dominican Republic, Moldova and Mali, we see the serious effects that cancer has on poorer families and communities. We believe nobody should be denied treatment because they are poor. Let us introduce just one of the many people we have been able to help:

Oliver Castillo Bustillo 
Oliver is an energetic curious 12-year-old has been battling Leukemia for the past four years.  
Oliver lived in small Honduran community named Trojes, located near the Nicaraguan border. He was the eldest of three, Maria, a single mother worked hard as a cleaner, but the family was poor, they never had to enough to live comfortably.
Oliver’s symptoms began with nosebleeds, he then started to cough up blood and had unexplainable bruising, there was little that could be done because the family had no money for doctors. Omar, a friendly neighbor, was troubled by Oliver’s symptoms so he stepped into help and took Oliver to the doctor. 
The diagnosis of leukemia for a family struggling to make ends meat hit with such a shock. Maria was devastated. How were they supposed to afford treatment? 
Omar, who knew the family well took them in under his wing. Omar found a small wooden house for them and moved too so that the family could be closer to the capital Tegucigalpa. Oliver was omitted to Hospital Escuela, the only public hospital in Honduras specializing in childhood cancer. Families like Oliver’s, living in poverty with no means for medical care aren’t all as lucky as Oliver.

The oncologists at Hospital Escuela are very caring and capable but government funding for medicines is minimal, at best. Even so, through nonprofit donations, the department works wonders. Oliver was immediately set up on a comprehensive protocol of chemotherapy.?Things began to improve for Oliver and he was able to leave hospital. Shortly after, Oliver suffered a relapse and Maria could only afford alternative medicine, as all other treatments were either too expensive, or not available. Oliver’s condition worsened and one day he collapsed in agonizing pain; Omar and Maria rushed him to Hospital Escuela. 

Hospital Escuela had just received a donation of L’Asparaginase from Krebsallianz. This drug is a high quality chemotherapy used to treat leukemia. Oliver was in luck! He was immediately put on a course of this donated chemotherapy and his symptoms subsided and he began to feel less pain. Weeks later, he wasn’t out of the woods but his condition had definitely improved. Omar stayted on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa with the family, to be sure that they were close by if anything were to happen to Oliver again.

Omar is overcome with gratitude for the good fortune that has saved Oliver’s life. He chokes up when he tries to express his feelings. “I thank God and the foundations that have helped my son through this ordeal. Bless all the people who donate and bring these drugs to our hospital – and may they never have to experience this pain.”

Krebsallianz and World Cancer Day 2017 campaign to give children like Oliver the best chance at recovery. This can be done by bridging the gap in access to effective and affordable cancer care. UICC states: 

All people have the right to benefit from these interventions on equal terms, regardless of geography and without suffering economic hardship as a consequence. Closing the gap in access to affordable quality cancer care is imperative for maximising treatment outcomes and quality of life for all people living with the disease, including children and adolescents. Of equal importance is addressing the affordability of care to protect individuals and families from financial hardship as a consequence of out-of-pocket expenses. We can advocate for improved access to cancer treatment and services across the care continuum.

There are many ways you can get involved in World Cancer Day, share this story on social media, visit the website or help us by donating today!