As many people will die from cancer in 2016 as live in New York City, according to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). That means more than eight million people will perish from the disease. Unfortunately, we still don't devote sufficient attention and energy to combating cancer. However, on World Cancer Day, held annually on Feb. 4 since 2000, public health groups and devoted doctors, patients, and activists unite to draw attention to what can be done to fight cancer and prevent these millions of deaths. You can play your part, too.
For this year's World Cancer Day, the theme is "We can. I can." As a part of the "We can" message, the UICC, one of the top international cancer organizations, is calling on corporations and governments to focus on products and services that improve public health. In addition, the group would like to see increased tobacco regulation and more screening for preventative cancers.
In a press release for World Cancer Day, Dr. Cary Adam, the CEO of the UICC, said:
Preventing millions of unnecessary deaths and suffering from cancer is not outside of the world's scientific or financial capabilities. It will however require collaborative action at both individual and collective levels — spearheaded by key leaders in society. Governments have made global commitments to priority actions for addressing cancer, we now need to see these converted to national investments in treatment centres, services and skilled health workers, as well as health promotion. Employers can play a crucial role also by investing in the well-being of their workplace and the wider environment which they impact.
Individuals can make a big difference, too though. The "I can" of this year's theme is where you come in.
Shake Up Your Lifestyle
More than one-third of all cancer cases are preventable, according to the World Health Organization. The UICC says make changes in your lifestyle to reduce your risk. Exercise more, eat less red meat, and don't drink too much alcohol.
That brings us to the big one: Stop smoking. According to the National Institutes of Health, smoking is the number one cause of cancer.
Get Involved In Your Community
Find the local chapter of the American Cancer Society and get involved in planning a Relay for Life event. Consider organizing a team of your friends to participate in one.
Early detection of colon, breast, cervix, and lung cancer can make a big difference in reducing mortality. Talk to your doctor about when and if you should get checked.
Donate To Research Efforts
Finding a cure takes research, which isn't cheap. If you've got the resources, consider donating to fund new and promising research.
Talk to the people you know — and even those you may not know, like politicians or corporate leaders — about cancer-prevention lifestyles, the importance of a healthy environment, and supporting research funding.
Play your part in beating cancer. Go here for more information on how you can make a difference in the fight against cancer.
Photos: World Cancer Day/UICC