Today – 4th February – has been designated ‘World Cancer Day’. I have no idea if there is a particular reason for choosing this day but it is designed to raise money and ‘awareness’ of the disease around the world, as well as remembering those who have died from it.
Is there anyone anywhere who is unaware of cancer in a general sense, I wonder? To find out more about WCD, visit the website here
There are 200 or so forms of cancer, affecting every part of the body, and coincidentally there are roughly the same number of countries in the world. That’s an awful lot of awareness to raise and a very broad geographical remit for one day.
How about if we narrow the focus a little and make it personal. It would be amazing if everyone reading this could do at least one of the following, to increase their own ‘awareness’ and knowledge:
- Research the symptoms and warning signs for a cancer that might affect you. (Breast, lung, prostate and bowel cancers are the four most common in the UK) Just pick one for today and use a good source for your information. Dr Google can be a far from reliable source. The NHS website here and general or specific cancer charity websites are good starting points. Don’t be scared though. Knowledge is power, and information is far less frightening than ignorance.
- Check something that you know you should be checking. Most of us don’t do it often enough but it is how I found my tumour in its early stages. Yes, that was scary but far less so than finding it at a late stage.
- Women (of any age) – check your breasts regularly and learn what is normal for you. Then you will know when something changes. If you are not sure how to do it, there is a handy guide here
- Men – check your balls and know what’s normal for you. If something deviates from normal, see your doctor. There’s lots of useful info about testicular cancer and how to check for it here
- Many cancers have no identifiable cause, but if you are currently doing something that is known to increase your risk, please consider stopping or cutting down.
- Donate to a charity that is in some way connected to cancer detection, prevention or treatment. I have put this last on my list because, although funds are vital for research, I know money is in limited supply for many people. Doing one of the other five things on this list is just as useful and costs nothing.
Love your body, love your self, live your life.