World Cancer Day – Debunk the Myths!

Did you know that there were 667 events across the world planned around February 4th, 2014?

February 4th, 2014 marked World Cancer Day, a chance to advocate globally about cancer.  It brought about a wonderful opportunity to discuss new information about cancer and to challenge our current misconceptions. World Cancer Day’s tagline for this year was “Debunk The Myths”. Check out the interactive Map of Events to see the activities marking this international event. In nearby Bloomfield, CT Cigna Corporate Headquarters put together an engaging video regarding cancer.

The Union for International Global Cancer Control (UICC) wants to debunk 4 specific myths about cancer. Check out the myths (and truths) below!

Myth 1: We don’t need to talk about cancer.

The truth is that speaking about cancer is a difficult task; it can be emotionally draining and in some cultures, even a taboo subject. But, having an open dialogue about cancer can help to alleviate any fears and importantly, break the cycle of misinformation.

Myth 2: There are no signs or symptoms of cancer.

Actually, for many types of cancers there are distinct signs and symptoms! It is important to be aware of and to recognize these symptoms to assure early detection and appropriate care.

Myth 3: There is nothing I can do about cancer.

By incorporating healthy lifestyle changes, it is actually easy to reduce exposure to certain risk factors for cancer. Using sunscreen, exercising regularly, and not smoking are great examples. 

Myth 4: I don’t have the right to cancer care.

Everyone has the right to obtain preventative care and quality treatment! Currently, many programs exist to help those who cannot access such services. The Connecticut Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, along with the Connecticut Colorectal Cancer Screening Program, are perfect examples of local outreach initiatives.

Let’s begin our own discussion by debunking some myths about colorectal, cervical, and breast cancer.

Myth: Colorectal cancer can’t be prevented.

Truth: The good news is that in many cases, colorectal cancer can be prevented! In the majority of cases, colorectal cancer begins with a small growth. If the growth is found early it can be removed. A colonoscopy is an example of a test that can find these growths.

Myth: If I have Human Papillomavirus (HPV), I will get cervical cancer.

Truth: Most women will be exposed to the virus at some point, but having HPV does NOT mean that you have cervical cancer, or will definitely get cervical cancer. In fact, the body clears many HPV infections on its own. In some cases, the HPV infection does not go away and can cause cell changes. A regular Pap test, which can detect these changes, is a great preventative method. When caught early, cervical cancer can be treated.

Myth: Men cannot get breast cancer.

Truth: Although breast cancer in men is a rare occurrence, it can happen. In the United States, approximately 1% of all breast cancer cases occur in men.

Although World Cancer Day was on February 4th, 2014 you can still join the social media movement by tweeting what you have learned with the hashtags #debunkcancermyths and #worldcancerday at the Union for International Global Cancer Control (@UICC).

Interested in other ways to get involved? Sign the World Cancer Declaration here. The World Cancer Declaration seeks to reduce cancer-related deaths, improve survival rates, and quality of life.

So, what have you learned today? I learned that raising awareness about cancer prevention is a great first step to improving cancer outcomes.

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