According to India Against Cancer, in India, one woman dies of cervical cancer every 8 minutes. For every 2 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, one woman dies of it.
Around 2.25 million people are estimated living with cancer disease in India. Over 11, 57,294 lakh new cancer patients are registered every year. About 784,821 lost their lives to this deadly disease in the country in 2018.
According to WHO, in 2018, cancer claimed approximately 9.6 million lives in the world and India’s share was around 8.17%. According to the Lancet report about cancer, India is the second biggest killer after heart disease.
National Cancer Awareness Day is observed on 7 November in India to raise awareness about cancer, its treatment, and its symptoms. It was announced for the first time in 2014 by the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. The day highlights the cancer disease across the country to reduce the risk of cancer and to provide knowledge on how to tackle this disease and what are the probable symptoms that should not be neglected.
The fight against cancer requires a combined effort from all sections of society. While the government has improved its effort for dealing with it after the announcement of National Cancer Awareness Day, corporates too have launched very creative and effective campaigns to spread cancer awareness.
Breast Cancer is among the most common form of cancer within India’s major cities. Despite this, about 75% of women neglect or avoids self-examination.
Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigns by India Inc.
One of the most creative campaigns for Breast Cancer Awareness is by Unilever’s Lux soap brand, the number one best selling soap in India. It has developed a bar of soap with a visible, tactile lump, intended as a daily reminder for women to check their breasts while showering. The added lump has been carefully designed not to dissolve over time with the rest of the bar, improving the longevity of its core purpose.
SBI Life is not too far behind in its fight against breast cancer. It has launched a unique campaign called ‘Thanks a Dot’ supported by the Women’s Cancer Initiative -Tata Memorial Hospital. The objective of this initiative is to educate women about breast cancer, encourage them to carry out regular self-examination and most importantly, help them understand what a lump really feels like. To be precise, under this programme, women can order a free self-training module, which is an easy to use tool based on actual mammograms to show women what real breast cancer lumps feel like and have been created using a special algorithm and 3D printing. The shapes of the lumps have been printed on a card inspired by Braille. The idea is to promote regular self-checks in women.
Mahindra’s Sehat ka Batua calls upon the practice of women in rural India for protecting their money. They keep their ‘batua’ (the traditional Indian purse) in their blouses. The campaign designed purses with illustrative visuals of women checking themselves – which served as a reminder to perform the simple breast self-examination steps given inside. The purses were printed on skin-friendly cloth and designed using 9 famous Indian folk-art styles. The ‘batua’ thus became a purse that didn’t just protect their wealth, but their health as well.
While there have been many creative campaigns across the globe for spreading awareness of Breast Cancer, the other types of cancer do not get as much attention. More such creative campaigns for various types of cancer are required in order to be able to tackle this menace in an effective way.