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Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 is World Cancer Day. It can be said that there is not one person on this planet that hasn’t already been touched directly or indirectly by this terrible disease. For our own reasons we tend to choose to participate and / or donate to those events that raise money for the particular cancer where we have had an experience. To raise funds to combat this epidemic, we regularly see events involving Conquer Cancer runs, walks, distance bike rides, motorcycle convoys, mustache growing competitions and various other community sponsored events.
The prime objective of World Cancer Day is to raise awareness of cancer in order 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.
At one time conventional wisdom said that this devastating disease ‘just happened’ to people, that it was a question of bad luck or down to a person’s genes. Today, it is known that many cases of cancer can be prevented. Doctors and scientists estimate that by eating healthily, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight we can prevent about a third of the most common cancers. By making positive diet and lifestyle choices, together with not smoking, individuals can and will substantially reduce their cancer risk. This means that approximately 2.8 million cases of cancer can potentially be prevented globally every year. Prevention is the most cost-effective and sustainable way of reducing the cancer burden in the long-term.
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.
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- 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 is the most common among men.
- Cervix 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
Stopping cancer before it begins takes education, awareness and a focus on dispelling damaging myths and misconceptions 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.
The Good News (for many of us)
B.C. 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 B.C.
In addition, B.C. 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.
Both Canada and the US have major events planned for World Cancer Day. Here in Vancouver the Light The Night Canada – Vancouver Walks team is hosting a Skating Party and Lantern Ceremony at Robson Square Ice Rink. In Toronto World Cancer Day is being promoted by the Campaign to Control Cancer (C2CC) in partnership with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, MaRS Discovery Center and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.
In the US one of the most visible events will take place in New York where the Empire State Building will be lit blue and orange on February 4th for the fourth year in a row. Blue and orange are the colors are of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) that organizes World Cancer Day.
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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.”