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World Cancer Day

written by Vidya Sury February 5, 2014
world cancer day myths

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Today, February 4, is World Cancer Day

One million new cancer cases in India every year!

Reason? A majority of cancer deaths happen due to lack of awareness.

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, they assume that death is inevitable. It is true that death is inevitable, eventually, for everyone…but cancer is not the only culprit. Although survival rates for certain types of cancer are not encouraging, this is usually because of late detection. By the time the cancer is discovered, it has spread (metastasis) and multiple organ failure begins. Awareness is key.

World Cancer Day 2014

world cancer day 2014

Fact is, anyone can get cancer, regardless of age, gender, economic status or health condition. When we accept this fact, understanding the disease is the next step. Knowing about how the symptoms are likely to present themselves can make all the difference between life and death.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a group of a 100+ diseases manifested by abnormal uncontrolled cell growth. In healthy people, cells grow, die and are replaced in a pattern. When some cells don’t die, there is damage or a change in the cell’s genetic material. This makes them multiply as they are until they build up into a tumor. Death due to cancer is invariably because of “metastasis” – the spreading of cancer cells into the circulatory system. They encroach on other parts of the body, much like thugs and simply settle down where they please.

Shocking fact: Cancer is the leading cause of death in people below age 85

In the US, 1 out of 4 people die from cancer. In India there are nearly three million cancer patients and this is likely to increase by one million every year.

world cancer day

Recognizing the symptoms of cancer

Broadly, if fever, body ache, unusual weight loss and a general sense of being unwell persists for over three months, cancer can be a likely reason. Now is the time to consult a doctor and go through a series of blood tests to start the diagnosis. While fever is typical, one can also suffer from extreme fatigue as a result of low hemoglobin levels.

There is no one-size-fits-all list of symptoms for cancer as each individual is unique. However, here are some common symptoms to watch out for, that could mean various types of cancer.

  • Intestinal cancer symptoms manifest as alternating diarrhea and constipation for longer than is normal
  • Throat cancer shows up as a persistent cough and hoarse voice in spite of treatment with antibiotics
  • Gastrointestinal cancer is suspected when there is blood in stools.
  • Kidney cancer is likely when urine is reddish along with fever and abdominal pain
  • Oral cancer is possible when mouth ulcers do not heal, particularly in smokers and tobacco users.
  • Uterine cancer follows prolonged menstrual bleeding and periods that last more than ten days or extend to weeks
  • Lung cancer is preceded by blood in the phlegm along with a persistent cough
  • Liver cancer can result from recurring jaundice
  • Breast cancer is suspected when lumps are discovered in the breasts, although not all may be malignant. It is recommended that women over 35 years should get a mammogram done at least once in two years.
  • Skin cancers can develop when a wart or mole act unusual.

In general, any change in the body that presents itself as a thickening or lump must not be ignored. Early screening means better chances of survival.

In spite of advancing technology and knowledge, there are some myths about cancer that we must know. Here are the most common ones:

world cancer day myths

Men don’t get breast cancer
Yes – men can get breast cancer too. Almost 80% men are at risk and have no idea. If you are male and have a lump in the breast area, see your doctor.

Cancer is usually fatal
Not always. New treatment methods promise survival. Proof is in the form of thousands of cancer survivors.

Cancer is contagious
No. Cancer is not contagious. But there are contagious cancer-causing viruses HPV and Hepatitis C. HPV causes cervical cancer and Hep C causes liver cancer and both viruses can be transmitted via unprotected sex , shared needles and blood transfusions.

Positive thinking cures cancer
We wish. Cancer must be properly treated. Positive thinking can certainly make the recovery process easier.

Lung cancer happens only to smokers
Smoking is only one of the causes of lung cancer. Other causes are heavy exposure to asbestos, radon, uranium, arsenic, second hand smoke and genetic predisposition, lung scarring from any prior illness.

Light or mild cigarettes don’t cause much harm
Fact is, they are more harmful since you end up inhaling more smoke. Reduce your risk of cancer by quitting smoking.

Your risk of cancer cannot be reduced.
False. Stop smoking. Eat healthy. Exercise. Ensure protected sex. Use sunscreen when out in the sun and avoid intravenous drugs to stay healthy.

All abnormal growths are cancerous
Benign tumors do not spread like malignant tumors and can be treated or surgically removed.

world cancer day myths

Myths about cancer

Being diagnosed with cancer is not good news. The good news however, is, it can be cured.
Stay informed. Stay healthy.

Because Knowledge is power. Power to heal.

Recommended reading:

Psychotherapy Can Help Cancer Patients Cope

8 tips to reduce the risk of cancer

Breast Cancer 101

Linking this post to Write Tribe’s World Cancer Day post link up

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Kathy February 5, 2014 at 2:40 am

This was such a wonderful article filled with great information and a good dose of hope!! I learned somethings I did not know and am awful glad that I do now. Thank you!! ♥

Vidya Sury February 5, 2014 at 9:15 am

Thank you, Kathy. Least we can do, right? ♥

Remy February 5, 2014 at 3:00 am

Great article to create awareness! Thank you Viyda

Vidya Sury February 5, 2014 at 9:15 am

Thank you, Remy!

nabanita February 5, 2014 at 5:03 pm

This is such an informative article…we should all read it and share it too..

Bharat February 5, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Hi Vidya,

Great work, Cancer is really deadly and only proper diet and healthy lifestyle can help to avoid and cure it. Thank you for the good work.

Vidya Sury February 5, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Thank you Bharat. You are right. Almost all health issues can be overcome with a proper diet and healthy lifestyle…or at least give the individual a pretty good chance for survival.

Diana Natasha Pinto February 5, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Very informative article. Thank you for sharing Vidya.

Laurie February 5, 2014 at 10:26 pm

According to the study of Epigenetics (meaning “outside of the gene”), even if we have a gene for cancer, it can be “covered” or “not expressed” by our lifestyle choices. Decreasing toxins on our skin, in the air and that we eat, eating whole foods, exercising a bit and releasing emotional “baggage”, we can decrease inflammation in the body and let the immune system focus on pesky little things like cancer (it is just a “pesky” thing when it is at an early cellular level- the body deals with it many, many times a day!) When the immune system is overloaded by our lifestyle choices and exposures, it can’t perform the job it was made to do.

Paula February 13, 2014 at 10:45 am

Hello! I am a first time visitor getting ready for A To Z Blogging and the Big Theme Reveal. I am a nurse and have found your blog to be fascinating.

Vidya Sury February 13, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Welcome, Paula! Thank you for your kind words!
Great to know we’re going to be buddies for this year’s A to Z Challenge! Did you sign up for the theme reveal blog hop? If you haven’t, you are welcome to sign up here: http://vidyasury.com
Heading over to visit you now!

Susanne Drazic February 15, 2014 at 5:56 am

Hi, Vidya. I was just over at your other blog. I’ll have to come back so I check this one out more. Looks like there will be lots of great health information.

From the Market to the Plate
Volunteer for the 2014 A to Z Challenge (Stormy Sidekick)

Vidya Sury February 15, 2014 at 6:24 am

Welcome, Susanne! 🙂 Thanks for the kind comment! Looking forward to connect more!


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