World Cancer Day – 4 February 2017

  • By Judith Sullivan
  • 05 Apr, 2017
03 Feb, 2017
Author/blogger Reggie Simpson

We can, I can.  Unity.

World Cancer Day takes place every year on 4 February and unites the world’s population in the fight against cancer. This year, and through 2018, With a theme of ‘We can, I can’, World Cancer Day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about the disease and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action.

Currently, more than 8 million people worldwide die from cancer every year, out of which, more than 4 million people die prematurely (aged 30 to 69 years).

World Cancer Day was established by the  Paris Charter , which was adopted at the  World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium in Paris on 4 February 2000.

Around the world, communities will hold festivals, walks, seminars, public information campaigns and other events to raise awareness and educate people on how to fight cancer through

screening and early detection

, through

healthy eating and physical activity

, by

quitting smoking

, and by

urging public officials to make cancer issues a priority


One of the most visible events marking the occasion in the United States will be in New York, where the Empire State Building will be lit blue and orange for the seventh year in a row. The colours are those of the Union for International Cancer Control (



), which organises World Cancer Day.

UK Unity

Not to be ‘outshone’, 10 UK charities are uniting in support of World Cancer Day. They are all encouraging supporters to purchase and wear a Unity Band® on 4th February to show their support and to raise funds. The money will be used to fund research projects and support the work of scientists, doctors and nurses across the UK.

Each charity has its own Unity Band®, available in a range of ways including online, from charity shops and from some stores for a suggested donation of £2. The bands are each made from two differently coloured parts knotted together, to represent strength in unity and the power of what can be achieved when people join forces.


There is particular relevancy to World Cancer Day with the UK press today reporting a significant rise in cancer rates, particularly among women:

Podiatry and Cancer

There are many kinds of cancers of the foot; some take the form of cysts and lesions, while others are more widespread:

  • Malignant melanoma is a skin cancer that is very curable if caught early. Although it makes up only one percent of skin cancers, malignant melanoma accounts for over 60 percent of skin cancer deaths. It is estimated that approximately 30 percent of melanomas occur in the lower extremities, and that three percent occur in the feet.
  • Tumours of tissue, bone under the toenail) can be benign or malignant. Sometimes they can deform the nail and cause deformity and need to be removed surgically, although they can reoccur.
  •  Plantar fibroma in the plantar fascia, bottom surface of the foot
  •  Benign non-cancerous tumours of the tendon sheath. These masses are generally found on the toes, top of the foot or sides of the foot. They can also occur deep inside the foot. They are firm irregular masses that are commonly painful.

  Podiatry and Cancer Patients

Some of the most common complications resulting from cancer treatments such as chemotherapy include:
  • Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (damage to nerves in the extremities
  • Hand-foot syndrome (resulting from cytotoxic agents

  • Hand-foot skin reaction (resulting from targeted therapies)

  • Paronychia (soft tissue infection around the nail often leading to a fungal infection)

  • Fibroma (benign tumours in connective tissue)

  • Onycholysis (separation of nail from the nail bed)

  • Oedema, (swelling in the body’s tissues)

In 2012, the Netherlands developed an educational programme for podiatrists. The main goal of the programme was to encourage awareness of potential complications and screening, providing appropriate guidance to patients and keeping the feet of cancer patients in optimal condition during and after treatment.

Closer to home, the Buckingham Branch of the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists (SCP) is planning a Cancer Study Day on the 1st April 2017. Branch members are increasingly seeing patients who are having treatment for cancer. It is hoped that  Dr Bilal Patel & MacMillan Care will be the featured speakers, focusing on clinical treatments as well as emotional support: Talking about Cancer, Understanding the Long Term Impact, How to Support Carers.

By Judith Sullivan 09 Dec, 2017
By Reggie Simpson
By Judith Sullivan 28 Sep, 2017

We are delighted to announce that prose written by our Practice Business Manager, Reggie Simpson, will be featured in the Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s Rhyme & Reason 2018 diary, now in its 26th year. The theme for this forthcoming year’s diary is ‘Freedom’. All proceeds from sales of the diary go to support this worthwhile charity.

Reggie says: ‘Although my entry wasn't among the top poetry and prize winners, I was chuffed to be selected for the 2018 diary. The theme was quite broad, but my degrees in politics and love of writing invariably drew me to entering the competition. In the end I settled on a focus of freedom in healthcare, no doubt inspired by my current employment at Betafeet Podiatry and the noble work of Rennie Grove Hospice Care ( ).

Rennie Grove Hospice Care, formally known as Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, merged with Grove House, St Albans in 2010 to integrate services in south western Hertfordshire. The ethos and values of the two charities were closely aligned with the principle of allowing patients to lead a good quality of life at home for as long as possible, helping patients and their families avoid the distress of unnecessary hospital visits whenever possible.

The diaries can be ordered from the Rennie Grove website, payment by debit/credit card. It's part of their annual Christmas/holiday promotion. There will also be copies in local Rennie Grove shops. They are £5 each with additional postage if bought online. Shop locations can be found here: .

Here is Reggie’s entry (to appear in the month of September 2018): 

‘Do not count the days; make the days count.’

Muhammad Ali. Professional Boxer.  Audacious. Charismatic. A winner in the ring.

But even when you have won it all, life throws you a few more punches.

Yes, his name opened doors and wealth, but the bombastic man of his younger years was humbled in later life, and following retirement, he dedicated himself increasingly to charitable work. Parkinson’s was already taking hold.

He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, the highest honour the USA can bestow.   He died in June 2016, aged 74.

Now the news is about boxing helping dementia sufferers.

So what does this mean for freedom? Does getting battered around the head spell freedom and choice? One would say yes; a boxer is free to take such risks. When the consequences deal you a fatal blow as a result, when do you lose your freedom? Is it when you have been reduced to a shadow of your former self, a normal human being, and have to rely on others? Muhammad Ali likely had plenty of resources to ensure his final days would help him on his final journey.

We tend to think of freedom in political terms. It is hard to remove freedom in healthcare from politics. Think NHS reform, among others. Freedom in a healthcare environment means more to the individuals and families when they have life-limiting illnesses and need the care of volunteer-run hospices such as Iain Rennie Grove.

The NHS gives patients the rights to make choices about different aspects of the care they receive, from the different treatment options available. How these are chosen is individual, although for those with life threatening or limiting illnesses this choice will fall on family members. 

I quote the following:

‘In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties’.

Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Philosopher

September is World Alzheimer’s Month.




More Posts
Share by: