World Cancer Day 2015

World Cancer Day

When I first learned that today is World Cancer Day, a day in which the world comes together in unity in support of the global fight against cancer, I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. Do we really need an awareness day for everything? After all, isn’t everyone already aware of the devastation brought about by this dreadful family of diseases? Surely everybody has been touched by it in some manner. And what good does a day do anyway?

Cynical? Yes. Grouchy? Yup, that too! Perhaps my reaction has more to do with the fact that I’m resting on a heating pad because I wrenched my back yesterday than it does with whether or not we need a Cancer Day. It might also be related to the fact that I have a treatment next week followed by a scan that will tell us whether or not there has been any change in my own cancer. The days leading up to these scans are always a bit nerve wracking so I’d just as soon avoid the topic of cancer altogether today.

I’ve decided not to do that, however. The Lord has given me a voice (or in this case, a keyboard) and the least I can do is lend it to such a worthy cause. There’s really nothing that I can say about cancer that hasn’t already been said, but let’s begin with some alarming statistics:

  • Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and the leading cause among Canadians.
  • An estimated 191,300 Canadians were diagnosed with cancer in 2014 – 97,700 men and 93,600 women.
  • About 76,600 Canadians are estimated to have died of cancer in 2014 – 40,000 men and 36,600 women.
  • 45% of men and 41% of women will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime.
  • On average, 524 Canadians are diagnosed with cancer every day.
  • On average, 210 Canadians die of cancer every day.
  • About 30% of all cancer deaths are due to five leading behavioral and dietary risks: obesity, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use.
  • More than 60% of all new cases each year occur in Africa, Asia and Central and South America which account for 70% of the world’s cancer deaths.
  • Deaths from cancer worldwide are projected to continue rising, with an estimated 13.1 million deaths in 2030. I suspect that this is, in part, related to the fact that life expectancies are also rising.

Despite these gloomy numbers, cancer survival rates have doubled in the last 40 years. Awareness is making a difference!

The theme for World Cancer Day 2015 is “Not Beyond Us”. This year, the campaign is focusing on four key areas: choosing healthy lives, delivering early detection, achieving treatment for all, and maximizing quality of life. It takes a positive approach to the fight against cancer by highlighting new treatments and solutions that are within reach.

Today is World Cancer Day but the fight against cancer takes place every day. It takes place in research labs around the world but it also takes place all around you. It takes place in that home where a mother, father or child is fighting for life. It takes place in the hospitals and clinics where they receive treatment. It takes place in classrooms where good health habits are being taught and it takes place in communities, large and small, where fundraisers are held to benefit everything from individual patients to global research.

What will you do to make a difference in the fight against cancer? Will you make a donation, offer to drive an acquaintance to an appointment, or drop off a meal for the family when you know that Mom has had a treatment? Whatever you choose to do, you can make a difference!


7 thoughts on “World Cancer Day 2015

  1. Elaine,
    You are so right about this. Most of us have had Cancer touch our lives. A parent, a spouse, a child,a sibling, a friend, an acquaintance, or like you, YOURSELF. It is life changing! So as you pointed out in the leading causes, if people do nothing else, they should change THEIR lives and lifestyles to enhance their lives and chances of NOT getting this horrible disease. Do it for themselves and those they love.
    Next, bloom where you are planted and do something for others that are directly affected. Don’t be afraid of people and families that have Cancer in their homes. You can’t catch it! Your family members, church family members,neighbours, and even strangers NEED you. Rise to the occasion, do what ever it is that you do best!
    God Bless, and saying prayers for good reports after your tests.

    • I agree with you completely, Lois! As I discovered, a healthy lifestyle is no guarantee against cancer but it certainly improves a person’s chances and it has helped me have quality of life during the fight.

      Thank you for your prayers! They are much appreciated.

  2. Hi Elaine, I’m not sure if you know this but my dear brother Dave died in January 1963 just before his 19th birthday from the same cancer that took Terry Fox. Today is his birthday and it is the day I both grieve my loss and celebrate his life. We were very close and I think about him and talk to him in my daily life all the time. All of my kids know about him. Cathy wasn’t quite a year old when he died and he loved her so much! The older I get the more I feel him with me. The irony of this being the Cancer Awareness Day is almost too much for me to bear but I know he would have wanted it this way. Today he would have been cured and probably would not have had to suffer through his leg amputation. I’m sure you remember him visiting your family in Westview the summer of 1962 after his surgery. He would have so admired your courage with all that you have been through.

    • Dear Marybeth, your comment touched my heart! Yes, I do remember Dave and especially that visit when I was nine. I had no idea that today was his birthday though. How ironic that it should now be a day to draw awareness to cancer. For several years, I took charge of the Terry Fox run at the school where I taught and I often spoke to the students about Dave. I think it helped make the event more personal for them.

  3. I think we can all make a difference be it small or big. For example my house maid had no idea what cancer was when she first came to work for us but today she understand that it is important to have herself checked let alone know the damage it can cause and she now started to spread this new knowledge of hers to her family back home in the remote village of Indonesia. I believe that prevention is better than cure, so I guess we can all start by educating our kids on healthy living/eating so that it would become a lifestyle rather than chore. It could be a challenge in this era of fast food and video games but by God it has to stop. We all have to do what we can and you Elaine has been inspiring many I am very sure of that. Hope all will go smoothly with the scan and treatment. Hugs

    • What a difference you might have made in the life of your maid or someone in her village by teaching her about preventative health care! As you say, we can all do something! 🙂

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