What if the entire world joined forces to fight cancer? Tuesday, February 4th is World Cancer Day, a time when organizations and individuals around the world send a message: Ending cancer should be a global health priority.
One of the most visible events marking the occasion in the United States will be in New York, where the Empire State Building will be lit blue and orange on February 4th for the fourth year in a row. The colors are those of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), which organizes World Cancer Day.
This year the UICC will focus on dispelling damaging myths and misconceptions about cancer. The organization aims to improve knowledge about cancer and dismiss these 4 myths:
- 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. The American Cancer Society has lots of pointers for talking about cancer, whether it’s with friends and family, your doctor, or others.
- Myth 2: Cancer… 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 I can do 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, according to the UICC. Avoiding tobacco, maintaining a healthy body weight, eating right and getting enough exercise, and getting appropriate cancer screening tests can all make a significant difference.
- Myth 4: I don’t have the right to cancer care.
- Truth: All people have the right to access proven and effective cancer treatments and services on equal terms, and without suffering hardship as a consequence. The American Cancer Society is committed to fighting cancer worldwide.
The latest cancer statistics from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer predict that if current trends continue, the global burden of new cancer cases will surge from 14.1 million in 2012 to 19.3 million by 2025.