Education leads to prevention
Research centers all over the world have been working tirelessly for decades, for a breakthrough remedy for cancer, a disease that strikes indiscriminately causing 1 in 6 deaths globally every year. Most of these fatalities occur in low and middle income countries where medical care is elusive. Since most cancers are preventable, it has become imperative to spread awareness as the first line of defense in the effort to counter this global epidemic.
What makes matters worse, is the lack of proper education that has created many myths around the condition, some of which are:
- Cancer tissue is just a health issue.
- Cancer only affects the rich and the aged and people who lead an unhealthy lifestyle. But the truth is – cancer is a global epidemic that chooses its victims at random, and without discrimination.
- Some believe that cancer is some sort of punishment for the wrongs they might have done. However this is far from the truth. Most types of cancer can be cured with proper medical treatment.
- Cancer is contagious.
- Cancer is caused by cell phones and power lines.
- Cancer is hereditary. This is simply not true – cancer can strike those who do not have a family history of the disease as well.
Common misconceptions such as those mentioned above cloud people’s perception about the disease. Here are a few facts about cancer that everyone must know:
- Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect various body tissues. Its defining characteristic is the rapid reproduction of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundary and later begin to invade other parts of the body.
- Approximately one third of deaths caused by cancer are related to high risk factors like: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco and nicotine use, and alcohol consumption.
- Common causes of cancer are: physical carcinogens (UV rays and ionizing radiation), chemical carcinogens (arsenic, aflatoxin, asbestos, tobacco), and biological carcinogens (infections from bacteria, viruses and parasites).
- Tobacco use is an important risk factor that causes over 22% of cancer related deaths.
- In India, more women than men are diagnosed with cancer every year.
- As per some online media reports, 1.6% to 4.8% children, below the age of 15 are diagnosed with cancer every year.
- The condition takes various forms that strike different tissues in the human body, but most cancers can be cured with proper treatment.
Not only is cancer curable, it can also be prevented. It is important, therefore, that the masses are educated about the facts of the disease in order to dispel the myths and misconceptions in their mind.