February 4th is recognized internationally as World Cancer Day. The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) has made it their mission to work with governments around the world to take action against this disease. Each country has a distinct approach to addressing cancer control. Some nations, like Japan, reduce cancer rates by implementing cultural changes, while other countries, like Ireland, implement widespread screening and treatment. Despite each country’s differences, the common goal among all of them is to reduce the incidence of cancer among their citizens.
UHRU’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of rural and underserved communities worldwide. We strive to improve access to health care especially cancer screenings in the U.S. and abroad. Along with our domestic work here in the U.S., UHRU has recognized a need to extend our reach to rural communities in India, and we are addressing this by establishing a breast and cervical cancer education and screening program in Gujarat, India. The program’s goal is to provide a location for women in the rural Dang district to access preventive cancer screenings like pap smears, breast exams, and mammograms (pictured above).
Many other developing countries like Brazil, Mexico, and Egypt are seeing an increase in cancer incidence, yet unfortunately lack the public health infrastructure necessary to combat this disease. This underscores the importance of the work done with organizations like UICC that helps governments address these challenges. By having U.S. based cancer organizations put resources towards helping improve health outcomes in foreign nations, we can likely expect an improvement in overall quality of life for citizens of many developing countries. With the help of UICC, many developing countries have begun to shift away from spending money on treatments after the disease has progressed to final stages and instead have chosen to focus resources on improving prevention and early screening before disease onset, which are more cost-effective.
The importance of extending a helping hand to international communities to work together to address cancer outcomes can’t be emphasized enough. In the past, the public health agenda has primarily focused on addressing communicable diseases abroad, but now we are beginning to adopt a more comprehensive strategy. Cancer needs to be addressed on a global level, because as the world grows less isolated, there is an increasing likelihood that many of us have family and friends abroad, and we want to see them thrive along with us.