World Cancer Day aims to raise worldwide awareness, improve education, and catalyse personal, collective, and government action to reimagine a world where millions of preventable cancer deaths are saved, people undergoing treatment have easy access to important resources and support, and access to life-saving cancer treatment and care is equal for all - no matter who you are or where you live.

Each year, hundreds of activities and events take place around the world. Communities, organisations, schools, businesses, hospitals, marketplaces, parks, community halls, and places of worship - in the streets and online - all act as a powerful reminder that we all have a role to play in reducing the global impact of cancer.

This year's World Cancer Day's theme, “Close the Care Gap”, is all about raising awareness of the equity gap that affects almost everyone ranging from high to low- and middle-income countries, and is costing lives.

Here in Australia, we are privileged to have access to education and screening. However, with COVID-19 on everyone’s mind, some things may have been forgotten or put off. It’s extremely important that you’re keeping up to date with your regular check-ups and booking them in advance so you don’t forget.

There are two ways you can act to find cancer early:

  1. See a doctor. It's important to get to know your body and what is normal for you. If you have a new change in your body that hasn’t gone away, such as a lump, don’t put off seeing your doctor.

  2. Participate in a government-operated cancer screening program.

The Australian Government operates the following screening programs for eligible Australians:

The National Cervical Screening Program

The program promotes routine screening with Cervical Screening Test every five years for women between the ages of 25 and 74 years. For information about the Cervical Screening Test, go to the National Cervical Screening Program.

For more information on New Zealand's Cervical Screening program, visit Time to Screen.

BreastScreen Australia

BreastScreen Australia targets women aged 50-74, although women aged 40-49 and 75 years and older are able to attend for screening. For more information visit BreastScreen Australia.

BreastScreen Aotearoa is New Zealand’s free national breast screening programme for women aged between 45 and 69. For more information visit Time to Screen.

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) invites eligible people starting at age 50 and continuing to age 74 (without symptoms) to screen for bowel cancer using a free, simple test at home.

For more information regarding screening for bowel cancer, speak to your doctor, or call the Cancer Helpline on 13 11 20, or visit the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program website.

In New Zealand their National Bowel Screening Program is free for people aged 60 to 74 years. For more information visit Time to Screen.

Other screenings:

Prostate Cancer Screening

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian men after skin cancer. About 17,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. There are specific tests that can be taken to show whether there might be a problem with the prostate gland. You can find more information here if you're in Australia or here if you are currently residing in New Zealand.

Skin Cancer Screening

Make sure you get your skin checked regularly and make an appointment with your GP. For more information visit Cancer Council Australia or visit Melanoma New Zealand.

Support Resources

If you’re currently going through treatment, there are numerous support services and groups which you can access. You can find more information here if you're in Australia or here if you're in New Zealand.

If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime, in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Image credit: National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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