Continued from World Cancer Day – Dispersing the Myths – Part 1
The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) are using this World Cancer Day 2013 to dispel the myths about cancer. They’re not talking about the myths about how cancer affects an individual, but the global myths that they believe we need to overcome in order to beat cancer, globally. Here we look at the final two of the four key myths that the UICC are tackling this year.
Myth 3 – Cancer is a Death Sentence
Many cancers that were once considered untreatable are now cured as cancer treatments for many become more and more effective. This is down to a range of reasons; people understand cancer risks and can take lifestyle measures to prevent cancer, or reduce the risks of cancer. Increased understanding of the disease has resulted in earlier detection, making cancer more treatable and advances in medicine and the understanding of how cancer works and what treatments are best have made cancer treatment more effective.
In countries where breast screening has been a standard part of healthcare for more than ten years, there has been a significant reduction in breast cancer deaths. Examples of this include Australia, where breast cancer related deaths have dropped by over 30% since 1991 and the UK, where cervical cancer mortality has halved since Pap testing was introduced in 1990.
With the continuing vigilance of individuals and medical practitioners, as well as the continuing development of conventional and alternative cancer treatment programs, cancer will become more and more treatable.
Myth 4 – “Cancer is My Fate”
Many people believe that if they are going to get cancer it is inevitable. However, research suggests that with the right lifestyle changes and prevention strategies, a third of the most common cancers can be prevented.
Cancer prevention is the best way to ease the global financial and emotional burden of cancer. Policies and programmes, if released on a global, national and local scale, can reduce cancers caused by factors such as alcohol, diet and physical activity. A third of cancers can be prevented by limiting alcohol, improving diet and regular exercise. A further 22% of cancer deaths is caused by smoking and 16% of cancers are caused by viruses, such as Hepatitis B (HBV) and human papillomavirus (HPV).
By raising awareness of the links between lifestyle, overall health and viral infections, it could be possible to prevent 50% cancer cases.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer don’t waste your energy on thinking of what you should have done; lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking. You can focus on getting better, on making the right treatment decisions and the right lifestyle changes to help you to recover fully and stay healthy for longer.
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