Today is World Cancer Day, celebrated each year on February 4 to shed light on one of the deadliest diseases in the world. This year’s theme is “We Can. I Can.”
The UMHS Endeavour looks at the purpose of World Cancer Day based on the international World Cancer Day 2016 website (http://www.worldcancerday.org/about/2016-2018-world-cancer-day-campaign) to help educate future doctors at American and Caribbean medical schools on how to stop cancer and assist patients in prevention, treatment and living a healthier lifestyle.
‘We Can. I Can.’
Using the slogan “We can. I can,” World Cancer Day 2016-2018 “will explore how everyone – as a collective or as individuals – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer,” the website says.
The global effort stresses how we have the ability to take action to “reduce the impact that cancer has on individuals, families and communities.”
Below are samples from the World Cancer Day website on specific courses of action.
We Can: Inspire Action, Take Action.
“The first step in driving progress around cancer is to push for actions that we know will improve survival rates and give cancer patients a better quality of life,” the World Cancer Research Fund website says.
We Can: Prevent Cancer
Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, eating a better diet and becoming more active are key. The World Cancer Research Fund organization says 22% of all cancer deaths each year are related to tobacco use, causing not only lung cancer but cancer of the oral cavity, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, kidney, cervix and stomach, and can also lead to acute myeloid leukemia.
The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that for 13 of the most common cancers, approximately 31% of U.S. cases are preventable through a healthy diet.
We Can: Challenge Perceptions
Cancer is heavily stigmatized in many countries. Many people with cancer are afraid to tell others, and this can hinder both support and cancer care. The World Cancer Research Fund gives the example of perceptions of human papillomavirus (HPV) programs and vaccination in some communities to prevent cervical cancer.
“Governments, communities, schools, employers and media can challenge perceptions about cancer and dispel damaging myths and misconceptions so that all people are empowered to access accurate cancer information and quality cancer prevention and care,” the World Cancer Research Fund website says.
I Can: Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Quitting smoking, keeping physically active and choosing healthy food and drinks are all crucial. If you are overweight or obese, consult your doctor about diet and exercise to lower the risk of bowel, breast, uterine, ovarian, pancreatic, esophagus, kidney, liver, gallbladder and prostate cancers.
Reduce exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and use a sunblock with an SPF of 30 while outdoors. Also avoid using tanning beds at salons. If you want a tan, opt for a spray tan or use a self-tanning lotion. Remember to use a sunblock after getting a spray tan because “fake tans” do not protect you from cancer-causing rays of the sun.
I Can: Understand That Early Detection Saves Lives.
Get screened for various types of cancers based on your age, risk factors and family history because statistics show survival rates are three times higher if cancer is detected early. People age 50 and up should have a colonoscopy. Women should have a mammogram. Get regular blood tests to screen for prostate cancer and blood cancers such as leukemia.
“Health care professionals and individuals can be informed of the value of early detection and the importance of seeking care to improve cancer survival,” the World Cancer Research Fund website says.
For more information, please visit http://www.worldcancerday.org/get-involved