I believe I can say with great confidence that each of us looks forward to the day when this disease no longer holds anyone hostage. A day when cancer becomes a treatable or chronic disease. Many of us have friends or family who live each day with some form of ailment. Many ailments never destroy or horribly impact quality of life. One day we hope the same can be said for cancer.
The prime objective of World Cancer Day is to raise awareness of cancer. In particular, to encourage its prevention, early detection, and treatment. The fundamental long term and primary goal is to significantly reduce death and illness caused by cancer by 2020.
Each of us has already been touched directly or indirectly by this threatening disease. Each of us has our own reasons for choosing to participate and / or donate to events that raise money for the fight. Some choose to support a particular type of cancer while others support any and every kind of event – regardless of its focus. It seems almost every month monies are being raised to combat this epidemic – examples being Conquer Cancer runs, walks, distance bike rides, motorcycle convoys, mustache growing competitions and various types of community sponsored events.
Prevent, Detect and Treat Cancer
At one time conventional wisdom said that cancer ‘just happened’ to people; it was a question of bad luck or an unfortunate case of having the wrong genes. Today, it is known that about a third of the most common cancers can be prevented by choosing better eating habits, physical activity and/or maintaining a healthy weight. Positive diet and lifestyle choices, together with not smoking, can substantially reduce cancer risk. Applying these strategies can result in preventing approximately 2.8 million cases of cancer globally every year. Prevention is the most cost-effective and sustainable way of reducing the cancer burden in the long-term.
In the last few years there have been a number of major advances in a number of various cancers such as:
- Scientists have successfully identified a biomarker of ovarian stem cells that may allow for earlier detection of ovarian cancer.
- Imaging techniques that can measurably improve current imaging and may have significant implications for how patients with prostate cancer are ultimately treated.
- Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have made an incredible breakthrough in the detection of lung cancer.
- Dogs can accurately sniff out early stage bowel cancer.
- Google is designing a suite of nanoparticles intended to match markers that can be tailored to stick to a cancerous cell or a fragment of cancerous DNA.
- and the list goes on……
A Few Facts about Cancer
Cancer is a broad term used to encompass several malignant diseases. There are over 100 different types of cancer, affecting various parts of the body. Each type of cancer is unique with its own causes, symptoms, and methods of treatment. Like with all groups of disease, some types of cancer are more common than others.
- Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 7.6 million deaths.
- Deaths from cancer worldwide, are estimated to reach 13.1 million deaths in 2030.
- Lung, and oral cancer are the most common among men.
- Cervical and breast cancer is the most common among women.
- Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer causing 22 percent of global cancer deaths and 71 percent of global lung cancer deaths.
- Lung, stomach, liver, colon and breast cancer cause the most cancer deaths each year.
- Cancers such as breast, cervical and colorectal cancer can be cured if detected early and treated properly.
- One-fifth of all cancers worldwide are caused by a chronic infection; for example, human papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer and the hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes liver cancer.
3 Most Common Myths about Cancer
Myth 1: We don’t need to talk about cancer.
Truth: While cancer can be a difficult topic to address, particularly in some cultures and settings, dealing with the disease openly can improve outcomes at an individual, community and policy level.
Myth 2: There are no signs or symptoms.
Truth: For many cancers, there are warning signs and symptoms and the benefits of early detection are indisputable.
Myth 3: There is nothing that can be done about cancer.
Truth: There is a lot that can be done at an individual, community and policy level, and with the right strategies, a third of the most common cancers can be prevented. This includes avoiding tobacco, maintaining a healthy body weight, eating right and getting enough exercise, and getting appropriate cancer screening tests can and will make a significant difference.
Some Encouraging News about Cancer
BC has the overall best cancer survival rates in Canada. According to 2012 estimates in the Canadian Cancer Society’s Canadian Cancer Statistics report, mortality rates for all cancers combined are lowest in BC.
In addition, BC men and women have the:
- Lowest overall mortality rate for all cancers in Canada.
- Lowest overall incidence rate of cancer in the country.
- Lowest incidence rate for lung and colorectal cancers.
Most everyone recognizes that the pink ribbon is a global symbol of breast cancer awareness and the orange ribbon is associated with child cancer awareness.
Daffodils are another icon that is well recognized in the form of lapel pins used by the American Cancer Society as a symbol of hope – hope for a future where cancer is no longer a life-threatening disease.
Please take a few moments to watch this worthy YouTube Video that goes out on the street and asks people what they know about cancer. Cancer Myths and Misconceptions
“The doctor of the future will give no medicines, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the causes and prevention of disease.”