Today is World Cancer Day with the theme, ‘We can. I can.’ The question being posed today is how everyone – as a collective or as individuals – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer.
I have heard people say that they don’t need to be screened. They feel if they get screened, the doctors must find something wrong with them! 😀 Honestly, much as we (doctors) would like to feel we’ve got a lot of powers, trust me, we do not manufacture cancer in people to amuse ourselves. There’s nothing remotely amusing about cancer, right? L
Then, I’ve heard others say, that if you know you’ve got cancer, then worrying about it will send one to an early grave even before the disease! Okay, this is one place where ignorance is not bliss! If one screens for cancer and this is caught early, treatment is possible and the person could live a long and healthy life. Our problem, especially in third world countries is that we do not screen early and so the disease is usually caught in the late stages when they would have spread to other organs.
A couple of years ago, we talked about the myths surrounding cancer and I repeat part of that post here because the issues raised are still very relevant.
We don’t need to talk about cancer: Some people think talking about cancer is like going around with a death wish. Not true. Not talking about it doesn’t make it disappear. We need to talk about super foods that can prevent cancer, screenings that can help detect it on time and of course, risky behaviours that lead to cancer (like the multiple sexual partners in cervical cancer)
There are no signs and symptoms of cancer: For many cancers there are noticeable signs…a lump here, change in the contour of the breast there etc. Early screening can certainly help detect these cancers early. There are people who have Health Insurance plans that cover annual medical checks with cancer screening and yet, never take advantage of these screenings. Are you one of those? L
There is nothing I can do about cancer: Absolutely not true! There’s a lot you can do! You can help spread the news of things that can help prevent it eg eating healthy, not using oil that has smoked etc. Then getting screened and advising others to do same, knowing our bodies and being quick to spot changes in colour, shape or contour of any part…which may or may not signify a cancer.
I don’t have the right to cancer care: You do have the right. In the third world countries, access to care is an issue but if we are careful to catch the cancer early, treatment may not be too extensive or expensive.
You can do something to reduce the burden of cancer. I can do something to reduce the burden of cancer. We all can do something to reduce the burden of cancer. So, let’s do something…today!
Have a great week ahead, people 😀