14 Feb, 2023
If you think we are a little too late to be discussing resolutions, you are somewhat correct.
But who said resolutions should be made only on January 1st?
You can make new resolutions on New Year’s Day, your birthday, Mother’s Day, your first day at work, etc. Here, we are talking about resolutions that you can make on World Cancer Day. This World Cancer Day, how about you choosing to become a Cancer Advocate?
Now comes questions - who is a cancer advocate? And what does a cancer advocate do?
In this World Cancer Day special blog article, we will be talking everything about becoming a cancer advocate, and all the changes that a cancer advocate can bring in the society.
Who is a Cancer Advocate?
A cancer advocate is someone who works to raise awareness and provide all kinds of support to those affected by cancer. They often work with cancer-related organisations, such as cancer charities, to spread the message of hope and provide support to those affected by the disease; nevertheless, anyone can be a cancer advocate.
A cancer advocate can become a source of emotional support, strength, and hope for those affected by the disease. In addition to this, there are many other things that one can do as a cancer advocate. In simple words, a cancer advocate is someone who consistently strives to create a positive impact on the lives of those affected by cancer.
The need for Cancer Advocates in the Society
India is home to over 2.7 million cancer patients, according to 2020 reports. Among these, only a small percentage of cancer patients have access to all the care and support they need. A large percentage of this population will not get the medical attention they deserve for various reasons, which could be poor accessibility, a lack of information, challenges associated with finances, psychological challenges, or simply the fear associated with cancer.
Breaking through these barriers takes a lot of effort, and this is where a cancer advocate comes into the picture. In any community, cancer advocates play a pivotal role in breaking through most of these barriers, if not all.
Let’s now understand the role that a cancer advocate would be playing in society:
6 Ways to Become a Cancer Advocate
Becoming a cancer advocate is a highly rewarding and fulfilling experience. There are multiple ways you can become a cancer advocate.
Getting a Better Understanding of Cancer: The first step in becoming a cancer advocate is to have a granular understanding of cancer. For this, you may talk to cancer care specialists, read medical articles and research papers, talk to cancer patients and survivors, and attend oncology workshops and conferences.
Another way of gaining knowledge about cancer is by networking. You can connect with people who share the same cause as you. You may also use online platforms to build your networks.
Knowing your cause before you stand for it makes you a powerful and armed advocate.
Becoming a Powerful Support System for Cancer Patients: As a cancer advocate, you can support cancer patients in a variety of ways, such as by providing emotional support, connecting them to resources, and raising awareness. You can become a listening ear, understand what they are going through, and connect them to cancer support groups, cancer institutes, and financial aid programs.
By raising awareness and sharing the knowledge you have, you can help create a supportive community and make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.
Joining Patient Support Groups: Patient support groups for cancer patients are usually built by cancer survivors and cancer advocates like you. The primary function of support groups is to provide moral support to cancer patients and make them and their families feel heard and understood. You can use these support groups to counsel patients and help them understand that they are not alone in their journeys and that the right support is always available.
Becoming a Voice of the Cancer Community: Today, social media is an immensely powerful tool that can help you reach an unimaginable number of people in no time. Through this platform, you can share the knowledge you carry with your audience and give them a reason to join your cause. You can talk about the journey of cancer patients, the challenges that they face, the changes in the scenario of cancer management today, etc.
Participating in Fundraising Activities: One of the biggest challenges faced by cancer patients during their treatment journey is financial difficulties. As a cancer advocate, you can ease this burden for them by participating in fundraising events and campaigns. The money you donate can lighten the financial burden for them and help them continue with their treatment.
You may also encourage people in your circle to take part in fundraising activities.
Engaging with Initiatives That Uplift the Cancer Community: Cancer care organisations, support groups, and NGOs often run cancer awareness initiatives, which you can be a part of. Organisations often host initiatives like hair donation drives, OPD or screening camps, awareness events, etc. As a cancer advocate, you can do your bit by taking part in these initiatives.
This World Cancer Day, let us make a resolution to become a cancer advocate and make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer. By taking the time to educate ourselves, connecting with others, and speaking out, we can help create a supportive community and bring attention to important issues. Together, we can make a difference and help those affected by cancer to live healthier, happier lives.