Two days ago, the US published a new cancer plan, by the National Cancer Institute, after over 50 years of the National Cancer Act of 1971. I spent a significant amount of time working with experts in Central and Eastern Europe on the importance of National Cancer Plans in the region. I advocate for National Cancer Control Plans, an important tool that is one of the most important recommendations from cancer societies such as the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).
The new US cancer plan is simple and easy to read while addressing the complex challenges of cancer and the healthcare ecosystem. The plan has eight goals that address essential topics such as inequalities and maximizing data utility. Furthermore, the cancer plan theme, “Everyone has a role”, resonates with me, having lost two close family members to cancer.
I believe that governments, international institutions, the healthcare community, and industry play a significant role in developing and implementing cancer plans. There is also a central role for us as potential cancer patients in the earlier detection of cancer that may prevent early deaths from cancer. When reflecting on my relatives’ deaths due to cancer, both could have been considered premature, and earlier detection of their disease may have given them a different outcome. Often people ask me what they can do to prevent cancer on a personal level. Indeed, we all know the answer, a healthy lifestyle, such as a good diet, exercise, and sleep, and not smoking and drinking in moderation plays an important role.
We also know that screening can help us to detect and diagnose early. The first week of April is also National Cancer Week in my home country, Turkey. Keeping this in mind, I would like to propose to all my contacts to have your cancer screenings and/or check-up.
Dr. Canan Yucel Turgut