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World Cancer Day

Cancer is a worldwide issue, but there are some things pharmacy teams can do for their customers here in the UK this World Cancer Day

Every year, 9.6 million people worldwide die of cancer, according to the World Cancer Day 2021 report ‘How cancer affects our world’. In 2018 alone, there were 17 million new cases of cancer worldwide, demonstrating the wide-reaching impact this disease has.

World Cancer Day takes place on the 4 February every year and aims to unite the world in the fight against cancer, help raise awareness, inspire action and instigate change, both on the day and long after it has passed.

The campaign is led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), an organisation that encompasses members from 172 countries worldwide.

I am, and I will

In 2020, World Cancer Day celebrated its 20th anniversary and supporters from around the globe reflected on the progress that has been made and the actions needed to continue to establish a world free of cancer.

This year, World Cancer Day continues with the theme ‘I Am and I Will’ – a three-year campaign started in 2019 – which demonstrates how even the tiniest action to reduce the impact of cancer can make a personal difference for someone, but also in the community and the wider world. It also highlights the importance of cooperation and collective action to achieve its goals.

According the World Cancer Day report, its target is to reduce premature cancer deaths and deaths from non-communicable diseases by 25 per cent by 2025 through high-quality data and research, early detection and diagnosis, timely and accurate treatment and improved supportive and palliative care – and there is much opportunity for community pharmacy to get involved.

Every year 9.6 million people worldwide die of cancer

Making a difference

This year, pharmacy teams can play a role in World Cancer Day and help raise awareness with resources and ideas from World Cancer Day and Cancer research UK.

“This 4 February is World Cancer Day 2021 and a great opportunity to raise awareness of cancer prevention and detection,” says Zara Schneider, from the Cancer Research UK heath information team. “Pharmacies are in a powerful and unique position to support people in the community with their overall health during the pandemic, and also to encourage people to see their GP about symptoms or discuss potential barriers to help seeking. It may be more difficult to get an appointment right now, but encouraging people to continue trying to get through to their GP if they’ve noticed something unusual is important.”

The World Cancer Day website has a range of free resources available, including posters illustrating ways to reduce the risk of cancer, which pharmacy teams can stick up around the pharmacy, share with customers and start initiating these vital conversations. Examples of the steps people can take to help reduce their risk of cancer include:

  • Choose healthier foods
  • Move more
  • Quit smoking
  • Cut down on alcohol
  • Be sun smart
  • Get vaccinated
  • Know the signs and symptoms.

Free information packs are also available on the Cancer Research UK website to share with customers and highlight possible cancer symptoms and the importance of early diagnosis. In addition, the charity has a central resources hub for healthcare professionals, including pharmacy staff, offering expert information on cancer prevention and early diagnosis to improve and refresh their knowledge on different types of cancer and their symptoms, as well as other key details.

“Pharmacy staff can raise awareness of cancer by having leaflets and posters displayed – which can be ordered for free at: cruk.org/leaflets – or with creative window displays that can encourage people to talk to staff,” says Zara. “At Cancer Research UK, we have a ‘Talk Cancer’ workshop designed specifically for pharmacy staff of all role types. It covers raising awareness of cancer in the pharmacy and helps to develop the practical skills needed to have these conversations day to day. All the details are on our website along with information on our bursary scheme.”

Also this month: Tinnitus Awareness Week

Tinnitus Week takes place from the 1-7 February 2021 and is run by the British Tinnitus Association (BTA). This year, the organisation is campaigning to ensure those suffering from this common ear condition have the right information when and where they need it.

The BTA says that the start of a person’s life journey with tinnitus should be a positive one as just ‘being told to live with it’ by a medical professional and reading incorrect and harmful information can have a serious impact on its management and a person’s mental health mental health moving forward. “We know that this is not the case for everyone, but we want to make sure that it is not the case for anyone,” the organisation comments.

During Tinnitus Week 2020, the BTA opened up conversations with the Government about the need to increase funding for tinnitus research. This year, the week will focus on how people with tinnitus can access treatment and support from GPs.

The BTA will be conducting research to find out more about the experiences of people with tinnitus at GP practices, hosting a virtual roundtable event to establish ideas for how to ensure that the new National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) tinnitus guidance is used by more GPs and healthcare professionals and raising awareness about the condition across social media.

Pharmacy teams can direct customers suffering with tinnitus to the BTA for support and also get involved in raising awareness in the pharmacy with resources from the BTA and across social media via FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Find out more about tinnitus and other ear problems via TM’s Deafening Silence article.

Signposting suggestion: British Tinnitus Association




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