Half the world’s population lacks access to the full range of essential health services. When it comes to cancer, many people are denied basic care, despite the fact that we live in a time of awe-inspiring advancements in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
This is the equity gap – and it’s costing lives. People who seek cancer care hit barriers at every turn.
Income, education, geographical location and discrimination based on ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and lifestyle are just a few of the factors that can negatively affect care. The most disadvantaged groups are also more likely to have increased exposures to a host of other risk factors, like tobacco, unhealthy diet or environmental hazards.
The gap affects everyone. While it’s more pronounced in low- and middle-income countries, well-resourced countries show dramatic disparities too.
The reality today is that who you are and where you live could mean the difference between life and death. The new 3-year World Cancer Day campaign « Close the Care Gap » seeks to inspire change and mobilise action.
The first year of the ‘Close the Care Gap’ campaign is all about understanding and recognising the inequities in cancer care around the globe. It’s about having an open mind, challenging assumptions and looking at the hard facts:
These barriers are not set in stone. They can be changed.
This is the year to question the status quo and help reduce stigma; to listen to the perspectives of the people living with cancer and their communities and let those lived experiences guide our thoughts and actions.
That’s how we can begin to imagine a better way of doing things and to build a fairer vision of the future—a future where people live healthier lives and have better access to health and cancer services, no matter where they are born, grow, age, work or live.
As our campaign continues, we will join with like-minded people because we know that we are stronger when we are united. We will celebrate real-world progress in its many forms and allow that momentum to fuel our fight for fairness. We’ll do more than spread the word—we’ll shout it from the rooftops. We’ll build stronger alliances and innovative new collaborations.
Our actions can take countless forms: motivating neighbours to provide transport to cancer treatment for a fellow resident or ensuring that healthy and affordable food options are offered at the local school.
We’ll mobilise our friends, family, coworkers and communities because we know that together we can achieve almost anything.
The last year of our campaign is all about bringing attention to a higher level—literally. We will raise our voices to engage our leaders. Now that we have knowledge and a united community by our side, we are ready to shake the very foundations of injustice—to become lifelong advocates fully equipped to push for lasting change.
Together, we will make sure our leaders know that we demand a commitment to prioritising cancer, to creating innovative strategies designed to confront inequity and to investing our resources to achieve a just and cancer-free world. We will call on leaders to eliminate health inequities by addressing their root causes, ensuring that everyone has access to quality health services when, where and how they need them.