Archives For Awareness

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March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. I don’t know why it is not called Colorectal Awareness Month.

It is only the middle of the month as I write this and the ‘colon’ has been everywhere in my life. I have Li-Fraumeni Syndrome and a predisposition to cancer – basically anywhere – with a multiple family member history of colon cancer and precancerous polyps. The screening protocol for my Syndrome recommends biennial screening with a colonoscopy after age 40 or beginning 10 years before the age of any family member with a history of colon cancer.

So on March 5th I began my FIVE-day prep for my biennial colonoscopy. This was the 4th or 5th time I was Continue Reading…

Leiomyosarcoma

The wave is coming!

There has been so much going on since my last blog post necessitating my absence. In July, from a biopsy, my daughter was diagnosed with a leiomyosarcoma in her liver. This required finding a liver surgeon to determine if this was operable, while all of her and my usual doctors were on extended vacations. We knew the wave was coming and were trying to strategize how to get to the highest ground to be able to survive the hit. Continue Reading…

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February 4th has been declared “World Cancer Day”.

At first I was skeptical, thinking – Yikes, another awareness campaign!. Also, I was disheartened when I learned that Chevrolet would donate $1 to the American Cancer Society (ACS) for every person that changed his or her social media profile to purple. Another color (purple already taken by pancreatic cancer and a host of other cancers and maladies but also used for general cancer awareness), another corporation that needs a marketing opportunity and social engagement, probably requiring emails and phone numbers too, to sell more cars. I was thinking why couldn’t these corporations just donate money to cancer research and not funnel money through the ACS and not have to make a big marketing production? With a twenty year personal history here, I wondered, am I just jaded, skeptical about all the hype?

What is World Cancer Day?

Interestingly, as I dug around, I was quite impressed. World Cancer Day was started in 2013 by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). It is a membership organization that exists to help the global health community accelerate the fight against cancer. (Hopefully this will not mortph into the Global Cancer Society the way American Cancer Control morphed into ACS – yes, as I said, jaded).

Founded in 1933 and based in Geneva, Switzerland, UICC has a growing membership of over 800 organizations across 155 countries. This membership features the world’s major cancer societies, ministries of health, research institutes and patient groups. Together with its members, key partners, the World Health Organization, World Economic Forum and others, UICC is tackling the growing cancer crisis on a global scale. Pretty impressive I think! (See http://www.uicc.org/homepage)

So, What is World Cancer Day?

According to the UICC it…”is the one singular initiative under which the entire world can unite together in the fight against the global cancer epidemic. It takes place every year on the 4th of February. World Cancer Day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease.”

So what is “World Cancer Day 2014” about?

2014 ‘World Cancer Day’ is about globally ‘Debunking Myths’. Here are the ‘Myths’ and their positions.

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GLOBAL ADVOCACY MESSAGE:

Talking about cancer challenges negative beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate myths about cancer, cause fear and stigma and prevent people from seeking early detection and treatment.

Governments, communities, employers and media all have a role to play to challenge perceptions about cancer to create a culture where people are empowered to access quality cancer prevention and care.

GLOBAL ADVOCACY MESSAGE:

Investing in prevention and early detection of cancer is cheaper than dealing with the consequences

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GLOBAL ADVOCACY MESSAGE

The success of early detection programmes can be measured by a reduction in the stage of the cancer at diagnosis with earlier diagnosis associated with a reduction in the risk of dying from cancer.

GLOBAL ADVOCACY MESSAGE

The provision of a skilled and supported cancer workforce is critical to the success of early detection programs for cancer.

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GLOBAL ADVOCACY MESSAGE: 

The implementation of policies and programs that support a life-course approach to prevention, and strengthen the capacity of individuals to adopt healthy lifestyles choices can bring about behavioral change, which can help prevent cancer.

GLOBAL ADVOCACY MESSAGE

Broadening the future internationally-agreed development goals to include proven economically-sound interventions that span the entire cancer control and care continuum can strengthen health systems and increase capacity to respond to all of the challenges to development.

The onus is now on the cancer community to push for cancer to be mainstreamed in the post-2015 development agenda.

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GLOBAL ADVOCACY MESSAGE

Cancer is not just a health matter. It has wide-reaching social, economic and human rights implications, and is a significant barrier to achieving inclusive and equitable development. Inequality is deepening – social and environmental factors and the double disease burden of exposures in many low- and middle-income countries are keeping the ‘bottom billion’ locked in chronic poverty and threatening national economies.

GLOBAL ADVOCACY MESSAGE

Cost-effective interventions must be made available in an equitable manner through access to information and education about cancer at the primary health care level, as well as early detection programs and affordable, quality medicines, vaccines and technologies, delivered as part of national cancer control plans. 
Social protection measures, including universal health coverage, are essential to ensure that all individuals and families have full access to healthcare and opportunities to prevent and control cancer.

“The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being”

–       The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

See (http://www.worldcancerday.org) for more information and all that is going on. This is where you can sign up for a ‘cancer free world’.

My Takeaway

Most impressive is the overall global organization of UICC. Who wouldn’t be jumping on the bandwagon to support their objectives? Hopefully they will do it without Madison Avenue-type marketing and purple washing!

My only question to the UICC IS:

WHY ISN’T EVERY DAY WORLD CANCER DAY? It should be!

WCD Goals

FYI: See my first blog post on whether The ‘Nation’ of Cancer is really The Fifth World!  http://www.thecancerian.org/2013/07/02/the-fifth-world-a-nation-called-cancer/

What do you think about all of this?

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A good friend of mine, D’Ana L. Reed came up with this great quote:

“To Everyone on the outside, METS is a baseball team.”

And how true is that!

Among the population of the Nation of Cancer ‘METS’ is the abbreviation for metastasis. It is a word that no one ever would want to hear. Metastasis is defined as:

  • Cancer that has spread from the place where it first started to another place in the body.
  • Metastatic cancer has the same name and same type of cancer cells as the original cancer.
  • The most common sites of cancer metastasis are, in alphabetical order, the bone, liver, and lung.

The reason I am discussing this topic now, is that several friends of mine are currently at different stages of metastatic disease. One woman has metastatic osteosarcoma, a young mother has metastatic breast cancer. One of my very good friends is getting staged for what we hope is Stage IV metastatic breast cancer since other options are even worse. And yet another was just informed after a follow-up CT scan, that her breast cancer was back and was now in her spine and lungs. Continue Reading…

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Did you know that on August 30, 2013, President Barack Obama issued a Presidential proclamation declaring September as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month?

(see http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/08/30/presidential-proclamation-national-childhood-cancer-awareness-month-2013?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+whitehouse%2Fiphone_newsroom+%28iPhone+Newsroom%29) 

The good news is that Childhood Cancer is being recognized. The bad news is that each month there are also many other important ‘awareness’ campaigns. So who cares? Aren’t we all drowning in awareness campaigns?

FYI – National Childhood Cancer Awareness month is shared with National Blood Cancer Awareness (designated by Congress in 2010), Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Suicide Prevention Month and many other Awareness Campaigns.

Childhood Cancer Awareness

Are you aware:

  • Childhood cancers are rare, making up less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed each year. About 11,630 children in the Continue Reading…