World Cancer Day will take place on February 4, 2018. The day commemorates the recommitment to the fight against cancer at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium, which took place on February 4, 2000 in Paris, France. Each February 4 since then, doctors, patients, researchers, families, survivors, and advocates have used World Cancer Day as an opportunity to raise awareness about cancer. Many thanks to the good people at WorldCancerDay.org for their hard work.
Why We Need World Cancer Day
Cancers of all types are the second most common cause of death in the United States, after heart disease. Cancer deaths make up almost a quarter of the annual US death rate (cancer and heart disease combined account for almost half of all deaths.
Worldwide, lung cancers alone were the fifth most common cause of death in 2015, according to the World Health Organization. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the US among both men and women.
Many of these deaths are preventable. Some, like mesothelioma, are caused by environmental factors. Others, including many lung cancers, can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices, such as quitting smoking.
The National Cancer Institute estimates that almost 1.7 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer in 2016. That same year, there were almost 600,000 cancer deaths. A staggering 40% of people in the US will have cancer at some point in their lives.
More than one third of all cancer deaths could be prevented, through early detection and by reducing cancer-causing chemicals in our environment. On World Cancer Day, people all over the world call for prevention and more funding for research into cancer treatments.
What will you ask for on World Cancer Day?
The Theme of World Cancer Day 2018: We Can I Can
For three years, culminating on February 4, 2018, the theme of World Cancer Day has been “We Can I Can.” This theme emphasizes two different ways to fight cancer: together and individually.
Together, we can lobby for more spending on research. We can raise funds to find new and better mesothelioma treatments. We can demand that employers, corporations, institutions and governments provide healthy environments at work and school, to prevent future cancers.
Collectively, cancer survivors and their families and friends can press for better access to cancer screening and more education for doctors and nurses, so they recognize cancer early warning signs.
On a personal level, each one of us can take steps to prevent cancer. If you smoke, quit smoking and you’ll reduce your chances of getting the most lethal form of cancer, lung cancer.Smoking plus asbestos greatly their separate risks, so it’s even more important to quit if you have a history of asbestos exposure.
Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your health and reduce your chances of getting many diseases, including cancer. Drink less alcohol and eat a healthier diet to improve your anti-cancer outlook even more.
Learn about cancer symptoms and early warning signs and keep a close eye on your health. Get regular checkups and tell your doctor if anything has changed since your last visit. An early cancer diagnosis can improve your life expectancy, even for cancers such as mesothelioma that currently have no cure.
If you or someone in your family worked around asbestos, even if that exposure was decades ago, you have an increased risk for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers. Not everyone exposed to asbestos develops cancer, however. You can improve your chances of being one of the lucky ones by taking good care of your health today.
Speaking Up for Mesothelioma Patients on World Cancer Day
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer, with about 3,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. It stands out, however, as one of the most deadly. More than half of mesothelioma patients die within two years and very few survive for five years or more. While there are some examples of long-term survival among mesothelioma patients, this is unusual. There is no cure for this deadly cancer at the current time.
That doesn’t mean that mesothelioma patients and their families and people who have been exposed to asbestos can’t do anything. On World Cancer Day, you can speak up to demand that the Environmental Protection Agency ban asbestos in the United States as other countries have done (the EPA is currently reviewing the status of asbestos). Only when the products we use and the buildings where we work, study, and live are free from this toxic mineral will future generations be free from the risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-caused diseases.
You can use World Cancer Day as an opportunity to donate to foundations that fund mesothelioma research. Recent developments in immunotherapy have had promising results for mesothelioma patients, but much more research is needed.
On World Cancer Day, consider volunteering with an organization in your area that supports cancer patients. Sign up to participate in or volunteer for an event that raises money for and awareness about cancer. Be a voice for mesothelioma patients in the cancer community.
What You Can Do to Mark World Cancer Day – and Why You Should
There are events across the United States and around the world for World Cancer Day in 2018. You can find a map and much more information at worldcancerday.org.
If there isn’t an event near you or if attending in person is not an option for you, you can still participate in World Cancer Day. You can share your cancer story on the World Cancer Day website. The organization has artwork you can download and post on your social media to show your support. Use the hashtags #WorldCancerDay and #WeCanICan when you post. You can use the tweets the organization has ready for you or compose your own.
You can join the World Cancer Day Thunderclap campaign. This is a social media action to help get the hashtags for the day trending. Sign up to participate on the organization’s website.
You can also download posters (or make your own) and other materials from the web. Ask your doctor to put up a poster or post one at your church, senior center, or community center.
If you’re wondering why you should bother getting involved in World Cancer Day, here are three reasons:
- Those who will come after you. Not one more person should get a mesothelioma diagnosis. By raising awareness, you can do your small part to bring an end to this preventable cancer.
- Your friends and family. After a mesothelioma diagnosis, those closest to you may feel helpless. They can help with your care, but there is little they can do to influence the outcome of your disease. Speaking out on World Cancer Day is something tangible they can do to fight cancer.
- Your mental health. Depression is common among all cancer patients, including mesothelioma patients. Joining together with a community of people who understand what you’re going through and giving a constructive voice to some of the anger and frustration you feel can be healing. Give it a try.
If you, your family or friends plan on supporting World Cancer Day please tell us how you will take action. Leave us a comment, pass this article on to others interested in World Cancer Day, or give us a call. We hope to hear from you!