Fighting Myths For World Cancer Day

Today, February 4, is the globally-recognized World Cancer Day. The theme for this year’s day of recognition and awareness is dispelling cancer myths, and we here at the Maurer Foundation couldn’t agree more that education is a very important piece of the global fight against cancer.

Of course, the Maurer Foundation generally focuses on breast cancer and on improving breast health education, but we gladly recognize that many of the ideas we discuss here also apply to numerous forms of cancer. In support of World Cancer Day, we would like to add our own voice and perspective to the larger conversation about cancer myths.

Myth: Cancer Is Only A Health Issue

The first cancer myth the World Cancer Day organization is seeking to dispel is that cancer is only a health issue. According to their site, cancer has “wide-reaching social, economic, development, and human rights implications.” This is not the typical way to think about cancer, but it’s true. We know that economic investment is required to research cancer, and we know that many of the risk factors we discuss (like practicing proper nutrition, not smoking, and access to early detection measures like mammograms) are socioeconomic issues as well as health issues.

Myth: Cancer Is Just A First-World Disease

According to 2010 CDC data, cancer is the second highest cause of death in the United States, one of the reasons we often associate cancer with developed nations. Cancer is not just a first-world disease, though. The World Cancer Day organization points out that over half of all cancer-related deaths occurred in the developing world. People in these poorer nations do get cancer but often have less access to treatment and early detection options. We shouldn’t forget that the work we do to fight cancer here at home is desperately needed by those living in less developed countries, as well.

Myth: Cancer Is A Death Sentence

Another myth the World Cancer Day organization exposes is the myth that cancer is a death sentence. We couldn’t agree more! Breast cancer is only one form of cancer where early detection strategies like breast self-exams and annual mammograms have shown to make a real difference. Early detection is key to a successful outcome in the face of a diagnosis, and this is one myth we believe will continue to be dispelled as we become even more vigilant in our early detection practices.

Myth: Cancer Is My Fate

Another cancer myth we are glad to see dispelled: “Cancer is my fate.” This myth strikes at the very heart of our mission of empowering women to reduce their risk of breast cancer. While some risk factors are outside of our control, there are so many positive steps we can make to prevent cancer in the first place. As they state on their website, “Improving diet, physical activity, and maintaining a healthy body weight could prevent around a third of the most common cancers.”

This is such a powerful truth, and one that we hope will really be heard on this special day. Making positive choices about what we eat, what we do, and how we live can have a life-saving impact on our long-term health! What are you doing to recognize World Cancer Day?