World Cancer DayPosted on: February 4, 2013Categories: LiveWell 24/7
On February 4, join people around the world in supporting World Cancer Day to promote ways to reduce the burden of cancer. Each year globally, 12.7 million people learn they have cancer, and 7.6 million people die from the disease.
A Global Concern
More people die from cancer than from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. The World Health Organization projects that without immediate action, the global number of deaths from cancer will increase by nearly 80% by 2030, with most occurring in low- and middle-income countries.
Research suggests that one-third of cancer deaths can be avoided through prevention, and another third through early detection and treatment. Although proven ways to prevent and treat cancer exist, these medicines, technologies, and services are not widely available in low- and middle-income countries.
You Can Reduce Your Risk for Cancer
The number of new cancer cases can be reduced, and many cancer deaths can be prevented. Research shows that screening for cervical and colorectal (colon) cancers as recommended helps prevent these diseases by finding precancerous lesions so they can be treated before they become cancerous. Screening for cervical, colorectal, and breast cancers also helps find these diseases at an early, often highly treatable stage.
A person’s cancer risk can be reduced by avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol use, avoiding excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and being physically active.
Cancer Prevention Starts in Childhood
You can also reduce your children’s risk of getting many types of cancer later in life. Start by helping them adopt a healthy lifestyle with good eating habits and plenty of exercise to keep a healthy weight. Then follow these tips to help prevent specific types of cancer—
- Most skin cancers can be prevented if children and teens (and adults, too) are protected from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Just a few serious sunburns can increase your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life. Kids don’t have to be at the beach to get too much sun. Their skin needs protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays whenever they’re outdoors.
- HPV, a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex, is the main cause of cervical cancer. It also causes many vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancers. A vaccine to prevent HPV infections is recommended routinely for 11- and 12-year-old girls and boys. The vaccine also is recommended for girls and women aged 13 through 26 years and boys and men aged 13 through 21 years who did not get any or all of the shots before. The vaccine can be given beginning at age 9.
- The best way to prevent lung cancer is to not start smoking, or quit if you do smoke. In 2009, one in five high school students was a current smoker. Smoke from other people’s cigarettes (“secondhand” smoke) also can cause lung cancer. Talk to your children about why you don’t want them to smoke, and don’t expose them to secondhand smoke.