Published On: Mon, Feb 6th, 2017

World Cancer day Feb 4-2017

cancerCancer awareness has become a global health priority at a time when it is the second leading cause of death worldwide(more than 8 million death every year), today more than twice as many people die from cancer than from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

World Cancer Day February 4 for 2016, 2017 and 2018 will share the same theme: "We can. I can"

“We can” collectively inspire action, create healthy environments, build a quality workforce and unite to fight against cancer, and as an individual "I can" understand that early detection saves lives, I can support others, and work to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Communities need to be educated on how to prevent cancer through screening and early detection, healthy eating and exercises and quitting smoking for those heavy smokers, cause finding it earlier often makes it easier to treat.

In the Caribbean region, cancer is the second leading cause of mortality,CARPHA(Caribbean Public Health Agency) director of surveillance disease prevention and control said “Cancer cases in the Region are on the rise and also affecting younger persons and the large number of deaths from breast and cervical cancer in the Caribbean is very alarming, since cervical cancer is largely preventable, and breast cancer can be detected early and treated successfully ,participation in screening programs is strongly encouraged”.

Many are familiar with the scary term” Cancer “but don’t fully comprehend its full meaning, so let’s put it in a simple context.

Cancer starts when cells in nearly any part of the body begin to grow out of control in the lungs, the breast, the colon, or even in the blood and can spread to other areas of the body making it unable to function as it should.

Most cancers form a lump called a “tumor” but not all lumps are cancer, doctors take out a piece of the lump and look at it to find out if it’s cancer.

Anyone can get cancer but there are “risk factors” that makes it more likely to happen like smoking, heavy sun exposure (skin cancer), too much alcohol (liver cancer), AIDS.

To reduce the risks as much as it is possible, avoid obesity, women need to start eating a Mediterranean diet that focuses on plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts, healthy fats like olive oil and fish instead of red meat.

Avoid sun exposure between 10am & 4pm, these are the hours with the strongest sun rays.

Practice safe sex and limit your number of sexual partners use condoms, the more sexual partners you have in your lifetime, the more likely you are to contract a sexually transmitted infection such as HIV or HPV

HPV(herpes) is most often associated with cervical cancer, but it might also increase the risk of cancer of the anus, penis, throat, vulva and vagina.

As for men, the five most common cancers are prostate, lung, colorectal (from the colon or rectum), bladder, and melanoma(skin).

For children, the causes of pediatric cancer are still largely unknown, Leukemia, which is cancer of the bone marrow and blood, are the most common childhood cancers, they account for about 30% of all cancers in children and brain and central nervous system tumors are the second most common.

The types of cancers that develop in children are often different from the types that develop in adults, childhood cancers are the result of DNA changes in cells that take place very early in life, sometimes even before birth and are not strongly linked to lifestyle or environmental risk factors.

The financial costs of cancer are high for both the person with cancer and for society, people with cancer have clinical depression, fatigue, weight loss and insomnia.

Keep an eye out for any unusual changes to your body, such as a thickened area in your breasts, any changes in their shape or colour, unusual nipple discharge, or a lump in the neck, armpit or anywhere else in the body, sores or ulcers that don't heal, unusual coughs that don’t go away or coughing blood, moles or skin spots changing size or colour, unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding.

in general, in case of any notable change seek a doctor advice, accept your situation but never quit, with cancer it's about making people understand that it can be prevented and that your best chance of surviving is to diagnose it early.

© ReinaSankari 2017

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