World Cancer Day - February 4th, 2020
World Cancer Day is the 4th of February every year since being created in 2000. This day was created for those fighting the biggest challenge in their personal history to come together and unite. February 4th is dedicated to raising awareness, improving education, and imagining a world where all cancer deaths can be prevented. The theme for this year’s World Cancer Day is “I am And I Will”.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a disease which occurs when changes in a group of normal cells within the body lead to uncontrolled, abnormal growth forming a lump called a tumor; this is true of all cancers except leukemia (cancer of the blood). If left untreated, tumors can grow and spread into the surrounding normal tissue or to other parts of the body via the bloodstream and lymphatic systems. If this occurs it can affect a person’s digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems or release hormones that may affect bodily function.
Cancer can be defined by three different groups: benign, malignant, and precancerous (premalignant). Benign tumors are not cancerous nor are they life threatening. The only problem they may cause is when they grow large enough to become uncomfortable, like a brain tumor for example. Malignant tumors grow at a much faster rate than benign tumors and can spread and destroy nearby tissues. The process of cells breaking off from the primary tumor to other cells is known as metastasis. Once the cancer cells invade the healthy tissue at a new location, they continue to divide and grow. These new spots, or secondary locations are referred to as metastases and its condition is known as metastatic cancer. Lastly, the precancerous (premalignant) group is cells which are abnormal and will develop into cancer.
How can I prevent myself from getting Cancer?
More than one third of cancer cases can be prevented and cured if identified early enough and treated properly. By creating awareness on prevention, early detection, and treatment, we can save up to 3.7 million lives every year. While we know that not all cancer is preventable, we do know that various types can be prevented through lifestyle choices. According to the World Health Organization, at least one third of common cancers are preventable through a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and being physically active.