By 2030, about a quarter of the world’s population will have some form of cancer.
That’s a scary stat – and according to the World Health Organization’s World Cancer Report 2014, medication isn’t going to cut it. In order to ease the global burden of cancer, prevention is critical.
‘Despite exciting advances, this report shows that we cannot treat our way out of the cancer problem,’ Dr. Christopher Wild, co-editor of the report, said in a press release. ‘More commitment to prevention and early detection is desperately needed in order to complement improved treatments and address the alarming rise in cancer burden globally.’
Today is World Cancer Day – a great time to focus on improving your knowledge about cancer (you can start with the myths in the image above, from worldcancerday.org).
It’s also a good time to start thinking about how you can prevent cancer. Here’s how to get started.
It’s been said before – but the best thing you can do to prevent cancer is quit smoking. It’s also important to eat a healthy diet and limit processed foods. Try adding more of these incredible cancer-fighting foods to your diet. Make sure you’re getting enough exercise (obesity puts you at a higher risk for many cancers). Don’t go overboard with consumption of alcohol. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages, and limit exposure to carcinogens (WHO also points out that legislation plays an important role in helping people avoid these risks and behaviours).
Be aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer. According to WHO, some early signs of cancer include lumps, sores that fail to heal, abnormal bleeding, persistent indigestion, and chronic hoarseness. Early diagnosis is particularly relevant for cancers of the breast, cervix, mouth, larynx, colon and rectum, and skin.
Simple tests could save your life. Make sure you’re going for a yearly physical and get screened by going for that mammogram and pap smear. And guys, make sure you’re going for your prostate exam. Another important one? If you notice any strange changes in moles or your skin, make an appointment with your dermatologist.
Bottom line: Make sure you’re practicing prevention and living a healthy lifestyle.
-Katharine Watts, associate web editor