Every year worldwide 14 million people learn they have cancer, and 8 million people die from the disease. Over 100 types of cancer exist and any part of the body can be affected.The Union for International Cancer Control is trying to bring awareness to this epidemic with National Cancer Prevention month this February and World Cancer Day, Feb. 4.
Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably to destroy body tissue.“Cancer cells differ from normal cells in many ways that allow them to grow out of control and become invasive. Cancer cells are also often able to evade the immune system, a network of organs, tissues, and specialized cells that protects the body from infections and other conditions” according to the National Cancer Institute.
Nothing can guarantee cancer prevention; however, many things can reduce risk, including being aware of family history (five to ten percent of cancer is hereditary), monitoring for any changes, and letting your physician know if changes occur. Lifestyle choices can also reduce risk: avoid tobacco, limit alcohol use, stay physically active, maintain a healthy body weight, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, avoid indoor tanning and protect skin from sun exposure, according to recommendations from the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
Making a Difference
The Conquer Cancer Foundation asks communities to help reduce cancer by offering support to local cancer programs with cancer-related volunteer activities to raise awareness and educate people about cancer prevention and screening information. They ask that volunteers be advocates; this may involve speaking out about issues that affect cancer patients and supporting legislation that helps cancer patients and their families. Fundraising is important for organizations to raise money to provide services and programs for patients and their families. Getting involved and making a difference could be as easy as participating in a race, attending a concert, or holding an auction. Roseburg’s Community Cancer Center provides volunteer activities. To contact them, call 541-673-2267.
Early diagnosis is important. “This year an estimate of more than 252,000 women and 2,400 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and more than 41,000 people will die from the disease. If diagnosed early and treated before it spreads, a five year survival rate for breast cancer is 99 percent,” the Prevent Cancer Foundation says.
It’s recommended women have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 who are at average risk. A clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at the age of 20, and every year starting at age 40, is also recommended. The Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization recommends calling the Oregon ScreenWise program for more information and assistance at 877-255-7070.