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World Cancer Day: Dispelling Misconceptions. Debunking Myths

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“I keep dreaming of a future, a future with a long and healthy life, not lived in the shadow of cancer but in the light.” Patrick Swayze

World Cancer Day 2014 Button

World Cancer Day 2014 Button

Today is World Cancer Day and WorldCancerDay.Org wants to not only increase our awareness of this insidious disease, but to also help us dispel misconceptions and myths we might have about it.  At some point in our lives, many of us will either know someone, a family member, a friend/co-worker, battling cancer or know someone who lost their life to cancer. In some cases, we might be the ones battling some form of the disease. Fortunately, there continues to be an enormous push to shine a light, raise funds and educate people about cancer.

Every year, people from all walks of life participate in events that help raise funds for research. In case you are wondering how this special day started: World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. This year, for World Cancer Day, WorldCancerDay.Org has chosen to help us debunk 4 myths about the disease. If you didn’t have to look at the myths on this page, would you be able to name/guess one?

Dispelling Misconceptions & Debunking Myths About Cancer:
Myth 1: We don’t need to talk about cancer: When someone we know announces that they have been diagnosed with cancer, there is a tendency for some to either head for the hills or change the subject. Talking about it won’t make it contagious or quicken the demise of our loved ones, yet some feel uncomfortable broaching the subject. It’s important to have an open conversation about the disease and, if we are caregivers, to discuss the ramifications and impact it might have on income, benefits and additional expenses. In the workplace, it is imperative to offer support and suggest ways to shift responsibilities to others. Ignoring the topic is not the best approach. Conversations about body image and sexual well being are equally important and shouldn’t be swept under the rug.

Myth 2: There are no signs or symptoms of cancer: While there are some forms of cancer, such as ovarian and pancreatic cancers, that are not easily detectable because they don’t show early signs, there are other forms of cancer; skin and breast, throat and others that give warning signs and symptoms.  Some of us might also be genetically predisposed to specific types of cancers because we carry genetic markers in our DNA. If we avail ourselves of all the preventative health resources in our health plans, and get regular check ups, we will benefit from the early detection of any cell abnormalities or growths. Researchers in the field agree that early detection increases our chances of survival.

“Cancer affects all of us, whether you’re a daughter, mother, sister, friend, coworker, doctor, patient.” Jennifer Aniston

Cancerous tumor sites in the chest cavity

Cancerous tumor sites in the chest cavity

Myth 3: There is nothing I can do about cancer: If we make changes to our lifestyle: foods we eat, reduction in stress, lower exposure to carcinogens, stop smoking and incorporate healthier habits, we can do something about cancer. World Cancer, points out that The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 177,000 cancer deaths each year are related to occupational exposure to selected carcinogens, with one in every three deaths estimated to be caused by asbestos. Also, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light rays can contribute to skin cancer. Starting a regular exercise regimen, eating healthy foods; fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods and getting regular check-ups can help deter the onset of certain types of cancer. Maintaining a healthy mental, emotional and physical state can help our bodies  stay well. With regular effort and education, we can change.

Myth 4: I don’t have the right to cancer care: While disparities exist in the kind of treatment people receive, everyone should have access to effective cancer treatments and services. In developed countries, we have legislative and voting power to bring about change in medical care and we must speak out to ensure care is given. Sadly, the poor bear the greater burden of inadequate treatment and as points out, “Over 85% of the 275,000 women who die every year from cervical cancer are from developing countries.  More than 70% of the 160,000 newly diagnosed cases of childhood cancer worldwide each year lack access to effective treatment. ”  This is terrible news and we can help change it.

What can we do about it? We can donate our resources to help others, we can participate in fundraisers and special runs, we can reach out to our elected officials and, frankly, we can see to it that the benefits of the Affordable Care Act provide equitable resources to all. What are your thoughts?

For More: Women’s Lives & Issues 

Positive Motivation Tip: The best way to be an attentive friend is to offer support and advice at all times. Do not walk away. Lend a sympathetic ear.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos from Wikipedia, or my Personal Collection.

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

40 Comments leave one →
  1. 04/02/2014 2:53 pm

    good post!

  2. 04/02/2014 3:01 pm

    I am a huge believer that we can heal our body by eating healthy. I have healed many things that I had problems with.

  3. 04/02/2014 3:12 pm

    I have hope that things will and are being found out…to help us in this fight against this awful disease… From what I understand… there are many different types of cancers…and “attitude” is a big part in healing…

  4. 04/02/2014 3:30 pm

    Refreshing to see a post about cancer overall rather than specific types. People get to hung up on each “type” of cancer rather than thinking of the ailment overall. Hopefully, there are not a lot of people out there that believe the myths you have listed above.

  5. 04/02/2014 3:30 pm

    Both my mother and grandmother are cancer survivors. I think a big part of beating it is trying to keep a positive attitude. I am sure it’s hard, but I think negativity definitely doesn’t help.

  6. 04/02/2014 4:03 pm

    great post Eliz…and one we should all take to heart

  7. 04/02/2014 4:22 pm

    Talking about Cancer is soooo important. Making sure people know that they need to get checked and the sooner the better is the first start 🙂

  8. 04/02/2014 4:52 pm

    There is so much good info here. I know that cancer can be an uncomfortable subject, but it’s also important to talk about it.

  9. 04/02/2014 4:56 pm

    I hate cancer! It takes the lives of way too many good people. Thank you for bringing awareness to this awful disease.

  10. 04/02/2014 5:42 pm

    Eliz, cancer has touched everyone in some way. Thanks for your great post.

  11. 04/02/2014 6:03 pm

    Great post !

  12. 04/02/2014 6:21 pm

    Let’s take the taboo away from cancer. The more we talk, the more we learn. My aunt was diagnosed on Christmas, and is undergoing chemo. Excellent post.

  13. Virginia Higgins permalink
    04/02/2014 6:44 pm

    It’s so important to talk about these conditions and diseases. Thanks for bringing more awareness.

  14. 04/02/2014 6:58 pm

    I know many people who are cancer survivors, and several family members who lost battles with cancer. I hate, hate, hate cancer. It’s like a four-letter word to me.

  15. 04/02/2014 7:21 pm

    What an important topic. I didn’t even know it was World Cancer Day until reading this post! Only good things can come from raising awareness and talking about helpful ways to deal with cancer. Nice post!

  16. 04/02/2014 7:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing this great post. Everyone needs to read it!

  17. 04/02/2014 7:41 pm

    Great post! There are definitely a ton of things people don’t know about cancer! Thanks for sharing!

  18. 04/02/2014 7:49 pm

    cancer can, will and does touch everyone. it’s got tentacles with reach no one can imagine. and it knows no boundaries. age, gender, race, it doesn’t matter.

  19. 04/02/2014 8:19 pm

    Great post, Liz.

    I just have to say I wrote a post last year about my 83 year old mother who had been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (it was so bad that the tumors were cracking her vertebrae, but I didn’t put this awful fact in my post). I received a comment from someone (that I didn’t approve because my mother reads my blog) who said I was taking it all too lightly and my mother would never survive this type of cancer at her age. Well, I have to say that I would love to find this person again (they posted anonymously) because my mother went through Chemo and her latest test results three days ago confirm she is now cancer free! Even at 83 years of age there is still hope and I would like to say to all – never give up the love and hope regardless of how ‘hopeless’ the situation may seem.

  20. 04/02/2014 8:20 pm

    This is such an informative post. It’s everyone’s hope to finally find a cure to Cancer.

  21. 04/02/2014 8:55 pm

    HI Elizabeth,
    Thanks for speaking out.

  22. mommybknowsbest permalink
    04/02/2014 10:38 pm

    Thank you for addressing this misconceptions. Such an important cause still!

  23. 04/02/2014 11:36 pm

    The more we talk about cancer the more we dispell the fears about talking about cancer.

  24. 05/02/2014 4:30 am

    Thanks! I just wrote about Relay for Life as we just had our big kick-off this past weekend. You addressed real problems that I don’t see mentioned much. I loved myth #1.

  25. 05/02/2014 4:57 am

    Thank you SO much for sharing this! My mom was just diagnosed with cancer and it means a lot to read this.

  26. 05/02/2014 5:16 am

    Great post! I am so glad you cleared up confusion about what people think about cancer. It does effect everyone in some way. Thanks for sharing all this information!

  27. 05/02/2014 7:46 am

    I’m shocked about the asbestos figures still being so high. That’s scary! It was nice seeing all the purple profiles in support of the day.

  28. 05/02/2014 9:35 am

    Cancer certainly does affect us all! I’m not sure I know one person who hasn’t had it or has had a loved one battle it. I pray we find a cure soon!

  29. SixFeetUnderBlog permalink
    05/02/2014 9:35 am

    Thanks for the info on this. Hope that someday there will be a cure.

  30. 05/02/2014 9:40 am

    I never hear the word without cringing and thinking I know too many people already who suffer from it

  31. 05/02/2014 12:49 pm

    Knowledge is power, and the more we know and understand about this insidious disease, the better chances we have of beating it. Excellent post Eliz.

  32. 05/02/2014 1:28 pm

    Great post. My family hasn’t suffered it but anyone can get it

  33. Autumn permalink
    05/02/2014 2:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing this! I’ve had too many loved ones affected by cancer. I can’t wait for the day that we find cures.

  34. 05/02/2014 5:49 pm

    I agree with a lot of these comments here. I am trying to remind myself to eat better and work out. A lifetime of healthy habits can help us.

  35. Chene Atkins- Whittington permalink
    05/02/2014 8:34 pm

    Thanks for bringing this to light! Great information to know

  36. 05/02/2014 8:34 pm

    I just hate that C word. My own dad a year ago from that dreaded disease. He was in great shape before he was diagnosed, never smoke, drank rarely but still. 🙁

  37. Alissa Boyle permalink
    06/02/2014 3:28 am

    Thanks for bringing up a tough subject. Quite frankly, I wish there wasn’t a need for it at all.

  38. brandyellen permalink
    06/02/2014 7:09 am

    Thanks for sharing this. Cancer is so scary and I have seen it take many in my family. I love that you share tips about this. My Mom’s Dad was recently dx with Stage 4 Lung Cancer, he is older, i his 70’s I do believe but given 12-14 mos to live. it’s so sad.

  39. 06/02/2014 7:43 pm

    Great post Eliz. As you know my dad was diagnosed with cancer and life has been extremely difficult. Until someone you truly love suffers from cancer, it is hard to fully understand. Thankfully he is now in remission but the battle is not over yet.

  40. Ashley M permalink
    07/02/2014 2:56 pm

    Amazing post. I love Jennifer Annistons post, it’s so true.

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