It is truly special to witness the world unite through a singular initiative that aims to eradicate the misinformation and stigma that surrounds cancer. This year, on the fourth of February, individuals, communities, and institutions from different continents will rise up to the challenge of promoting cancer awareness by attacking and disproving four common myths that people have about it. Here is the continuation of the first blog under the same name, where myths no. one and two were debunked and explained.
Myth #3: There is Nothing You Can Do About Cancer
The Truth: There is always something a person can do, especially when it comes to preventing it. The key to conquering cancer is to prevent its development and there countless research that explain how cells become cancerous, all people need is to be informed about it and follow the advice of experts about its prevention.
Whatever level it is done, individual, community, or policy-making, awareness campaigns can contribute to improved cancer outcomes. As an individual, you can:
- Arm yourself with accurate cancer information
- Speak out and discuss cancer treatment and prevention with your friends, colleagues, and loved ones
- Influence the decision-making process of policymakers in your district, or even at national level
- Live and promote a healthy lifestyle
Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle
The common knowledge about cancer is that its development relies larger on a person’s lifestyle. Think about the conditions on which people live their lives. Their career choices, eating habits, physical activities, and even outlook in life can determine whether they are at risk for cancer. This is why time and time again, health policies and programs that promote a healthy lifestyle have been implemented at a national and global scale in an effort to reduce the number ofcases each year.
This includes the constant reminder that alcohol, smoking, improper diet, and lack of exercise can increase a person’s chances of getting cancer. Tobacco smoking, for example, is attributed to 71% of all lung cancer deaths and 22% for deaths caused by cancer in general. It has even been reported that the use of tobacco could potentially take one billion lives in the 21st century.
Cancers and their Risk Factors
Alcohol is strongly connected to increasing the risk of certain cancers in the:
- liver (for women)
Obesity and being overweight is becoming a serious concern with increasing number of people including children, adolescents, and teenagers. They are linked to increase the risk of the following cancers:
- renal cell carcinoma (kidney)
Taking Advantage of Vaccines
Thankfully there are vaccines that can prevent certain infection-related cancers from developing, such as the hepatitis B vaccine for liver cancer and the human papillomavirus vaccine for cervical cancer. Getting these vaccines allows you to cross out two cancers that you can possibly develop within your lifetime, which is quite a sound investment in terms of health care.
Myth #4: You Don’t Have the Right to Cancer Care
The Truth: While people in certain areas of the world might not feel it yet, especially those in developing countries, but cancer care is a right that all people have, regardless of the race, gender, or nationality. It could be holistic cancer treatments or conventional treatment methods, the bottomline here is that everyone has their right to get cancer treatments and services without having to beg for it or suffer any further just to gain access to it.
One of the biggest challenges for both governmental, non-governmental, and intergovernmental institutions is the striking disparities with regards to the cancer outcomes exist between the developed and developing countries. This means a lot of things, mainly about the absence of proper cancer care services for those with cancer and in third world countries, not to mention lack of awareness and misinformation.
Patients with cancers that can still be treated in the developed countries end up suffering until their very last breath just because they do not have the means to get the right cancer care that they need to survive. This is why it is very important to spread cancer information so that more people can do something about cancer and the accompanying problems that affects so many.
Participating in the celebration of World Cancer Day is a very important and noble responsibility. By partaking in it, even in your own little way, your efforts will go a long way in improving cancer outcomes, and possibly even its eradication. Changing the perception that people have about cancer can increase the odds of overcoming the disease, but there is still a long way to go. It is not explicitly supported by many governments, mainly because they see very little profit in such endeavors.
The lack or absence of the right information and mindset is taking its toll on countless individuals and their families. There are still too many people in the world smoking out of leisure and practicing bad eating habits that lead to obesity, activities that are very clearly associated with an increased risk for many types of cancers, along with other major diseases.
By raising awareness about cancer, at least once a day each year, whether on a personal or on a global and international scale, we are helping win a war against cancer and help save what could possibly be a billion lives taken by this dreadful disease in the coming years.