World Cancer Day February 4: Dispelling Myths About Cancer

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Today is World Cancer Day, a global event spearheaded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), and this year's theme is all about shattering some of the damaging myths associated with cancer, specifically dispelling the damaging myths and misconceptions about cancer.

Cancer ... did you know?

MYTH 1: CANCER IS JUST A HEALTH ISSUE

World Cancer Day Truth: Cancer is much more than a health issue. Cancer has wide-reaching social, economic, development, and human rights implications.

About 47% of cancer cases and 55% of cancer deaths occur in under-developed regions of the world and by 2030 experts predict the number of cases will reach 81% if nothing is done to stop it.

Cancer is both a cause and an outcome of poverty, severely impairing the ability of so many families from earning a living income chiefly because treatment is so expensive. Meanwhile, being poor, and having no access to either education nor health care certainly increases one's risk of developing and dying of cancer.

Continue reading about why this is a myth HERE.

MYTH 2: CANCER IS A DISEASE OF THE WEALTHY, ELDERLY AND OF PEOPLE IN DEVELOPED COUNTRIES

World Cancer Day Truth: Cancer is a global epidemic. Cancer affects all ages and socio-economic groups. In fact, developing countries bear a disproportionate burden.

Cancer kills more people than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. 7.6 million people in the world died of cancer in 2008 and more than 55% occurred in less developed regions of the world. By 2030, 60-70% of the estimated 21.4 million new cancer cases per year are predicted to occur in developing countries.

Take cervical cancer: More than 85% of the 275,000 women who die annually from this disease come from developing countries, and if nothing is done to help prevent this, by 2030 cervical cancer will kill as many as 430,000 women per year.

Continue reading about why this is a myth HERE.

MYTH 3: CANCER IS A DEATH SENTENCE

World Cancer Day Truth: Many cancers once considered death sentences are now considered curable, while many other cancers have effective treatments in place.

Almost invariably, catching a cancer in the early stages means the disease will be less likely to kill and be more amenable to treatment than those found in later stages.

Meanwhile, the US is dealing with the problem of how to treat its 12 million cancer survivors.

Intervention in the form of breast cancer screening has significantly reduced mortality, and the introduction of the pap smear caused rates of cervical cancer to plummet.

Continue reading about why this is a myth HERE

MYTH 4: CANCER IS MY FATE

World Cancer Day Truth: One third of the most common cancers can be prevented—with the right strategies.

Policies that promote healthy lifestyles at the global, regional and national level can make a big difference in reducing cancer incidence and mortality, especially if they deal with alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. Improving diet, physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight could prevent around a third of the most common cancers.

Tobacco is on par to kill one billion people in the 21st century alone. Smoking and other uses of tobacco account for almost three quarters of all lung cancer deaths, while accounting for at least 22% of all cancer-related deaths.

Continue reading about why this is a myth HERE

Click on the following links for:

Resources relating to World Cancer Day.
Signing the World Cancer Declaration.
Checking out a map of World Cancer Day events across the globe.

Source: UICC

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