Raising Awareness Together
World Cancer Day falls on February 4th every year with the goal of raising cancer awareness all across the world. We as a community can encourage its prevention, detection, and facilitate access to treatment for all. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death all around the world. Here at Premier Patient Housing, we believe in educating the world’s population by raising awareness about different types of cancers, risk factors, and early detection. Together, we can help save a life.
Last year, over 9.6 million people died from cancer globally. Raising awareness is vital to help establish equal treatment for all. Unfortunately, there is a difference in survival rate due to the economic status of the person. This means that 47% of cancer patients will not survive cancer diagnoses in developed countries versus 66% of cancer patients in developing countries. It is projected that by 2030, there will be 23.6 million cases of cancer in the world if we do not make a change. The most common cancers are prostate, lung, stomach, colorectal, and breast cancer.
Understanding your health is essential to minimize the risk of developing cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, age, alcohol, diet, genetic, obesity, predisposition, sunlight, and tobacco are all risk factors in cancer development. Moreover, below, you will find more information about each risk factor.
Age: It is important to note that your risk of developing cancer rises as you become older. More than 25% of patients are between the ages of 65 and 75.
Alcohol: Excessive drinking can be a considerable risk factor for developing cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and breast.
Diet: Eating healthy is a style choice that can be difficult, especially for us in America, but it can help decrease the risks of developing cancers.
Predisposition: Genetics can also come to play when identifying cancer risks. The genetic predispositions diagnose 5% to 10% of cases. If a family member has passed away due to cancer, it is essential to see if you could be at risk of the same diagnosis. Reach out to a medical professional so he or she can evaluate your health status.
Obesity: Obesity can increase your risk for cancer. Cancers that are associated with obesity include colon, rectum, esophagus, kidney, and gallbladder. Diet and exercise can help minimize risks.
Sunlight: UV radiation can cause skin damage, which leads to skin cancer. To help minimize risks, be sure to wear sunscreen when outdoors and avoid the overuse of tanning beds.
Tobacco: Smoking and secondhand smoking can both increase the risk of cancer. Cancers closely associated with smoking include lung, larynx, mouth, esophageal, throat, bladder, kidney, liver, stomach, colon, rectal and cervical cancer. To help minimize your risk, you should consider quitting smoking as soon as possible.
How can I protect myself?
Individuals should be proactive about regular screenings and check-ups with their primary doctor. Early diagnoses and raising awareness can help increase the chances of survival. Take a moment each day to listen to your body. If you experience the following symptoms, it is important to reach out to your doctor as soon as possible to rule out cancer. The following is a shortlist of the most common cancer early signs.
Unexplained weight loss: Unless you are actively losing weight purposely, weight should not fluctuate more than a few pounds. If you or a loved one has unexpectantly lost ten or more pounds, reach out to your primary doctor to diagnose the reason for the weight loss. This can be an early sign of pancreas, stomach, esophagus, or lung cancer.
Fatigue: If you are still feeling tired even after resting, this could be a sign of cancer. The most common blood-related cancer is leukemia. Your doctor can help check your blood levels during annual check-ups.
Pain: Do not ignore unexplained pain. Early on, pain can be one of the most significant signs for you to seek advice from your doctor. Most commonly, lower back pain can be associated with colon, rectum, and ovary cancer.
Skin: Dark patches, yellow areas, dry and itchy areas, red skin, and excessive hair growth can all be early skin cancer signs. Make it a habit to review your skin each morning after a bath, especially if you are actively in UV light.
Genetics: Ever wanted a reason to take 23andMe test? Believe it or not, cancer can be the biggest reason to do so. Your DNA can let you know if you are at risk for certain cancers, such as breast cancer.
Remember to reach out to a medical professional if you or a loved one may be at risk for cancer. Again, early detection is critical when fighting cancer. By raising awareness, you could be saving a life. If you already find yourself diagnosed and feeling overwhelmed, ask your oncologist about MD Anderson Cancer Center here in Houston, TX. Voted as No. 1 in the country by U.S. News & World Report, MD Anderson has state of the art facilities that are here to serve you.