Raising Awareness for World Cancer Day

Founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), World Cancer Day was created to unite everyone in bringing awareness and education to the global cancer epidemic. It’s celebrated every year on February 4th in hopes of reducing illnesses and deaths caused by cancer to one day live in a cancer-free world. Cancer is currently the second-leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide, taking the lives of about 10 million people globally each year. National World Cancer Day is vital in promoting early screening and detection and bringing awareness on how you can play a part in containing the disease. We celebrate World Cancer Day to save millions of lives from cancer every year.

Cancer is a disease that involves the uncontrolled growth of cells. One in every five deaths in the United States is from cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 2 million new cancer cases expected to be diagnosed, and approximately 611,720 deaths from cancer are expected in the US in 2024. It’s estimated that out of the 2 million new cancer cases, 234,580 will be lung cancer diagnoses, and 125,070 people will die from lung cancer in 2024. The 5-year overall survival rate for lung cancer is 25%.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least half of the world’s population does not have access to essential health services. February 4th, 2022, began the 3-year World Cancer Day campaign ‘Close the Care Gap.’ 70% of all cancer-related deaths occur in low-to-middle-income countries. Many are denied basic cancer care even with the advancements made in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Income, education, geographical location, age, race, sexual orientation, gender, disability, and lifestyle choices are all factors that should not negatively affect the care given to someone, but it does.

5 Tips to Prevent Cancer and Aid Recovery for World Cancer Day

Over 40% of cancer deaths are linked to preventable risk factors, and one-third of all cancer-related deaths could’ve been prevented through routine screening. Implementing strategies for prevention, early detection, and treatment can save millions of lives each year. Cancer prevention lowers your chances of developing cancer and reduces the number of new cancer cases and deaths that happen each year. Scientists study risk factors, anything increasing your chance of developing cancer, and protective factors, anything decreasing your chance of developing cancer, to prevent new cancer cases from starting. This year, the Lung Cancer Center aims to spread awareness about lung cancer as we put together a list of adjustable risk factors that everyone can avoid in hopes of preventing cancer and aiding recovery.

1. Avoiding Alcohol During Recovery

There is a plethora of evidence supporting that alcoholic drinks increase the risk of bowel, breast, mouth, throat, esophageal, liver, and stomach cancers. The more alcoholic drinks someone consumes, the higher the risk of developing cancer. Your body breaks down alcohol into a chemical called acetaldehyde, which causes unrepairable damage to your DNA. Cells start growing out of control, creating a tumor, when too much damage is done to your DNA.

Taking active steps in avoiding alcoholic drinks is your first step in reducing your risk of developing cancer. Replacing alcoholic drinks with alternatives, such as mocktails, sodas with fresh fruits, kombucha, and non-alcoholic beers, will allow you to enjoy a nice refreshment without the dangers of alcoholic drinks. Not only will replacing alcoholic drinks reduce your chances of developing cancer, but it’s also a much healthier option!

2. Eliminate Unhealthy Diets and Actually Exercise

An unhealthy diet can lead to weight gain and obesity. Obesity has been linked to about 4-8% of all cancers. Diets high in red meat, processed meat, and heavily salted food, and low in fruits and vegetables, raise the risk of developing cancer over time. Regular exercise helps before, during, and after cancer treatment. Adding exercise to your routine can help decrease your risk of developing cancer and reduce excess body fat if you are struggling with obesity or have an unhealthy diet. Without exercise, your body experiences a loss of body functions and muscle weakness.

For those suffering from cancer, exercising can improve your energy so you can do some of the activities you enjoy. No matter where you are in the world, there are simple exercises you can take part in. Exercises can be as simple as a walk around the block or carrying items around your home. Gyms, online classes, and group fitness classes in your community are a bit more intense and a great way to exercise with others. Celebrate World Cancer Day by going on a walk to improve your health!

3. Avoid Tobacco and Secondhand Smoke

Tobacco products contain over 4,000 chemicals, and of those, more than 70 are known to cause cancer. Some cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens) include nicotine, lead, arsenic, benzene, and carbon monoxide. Smokeless tobacco products and E-cigarettes have both become popular over the last few years, but they still contain toxic chemicals linked to causing cancer. If you don’t use or smoke tobacco, don’t start, and if you do, cessation will reduce your risk of developing cancer.

When people who do not smoke are exposed to secondhand smoke, they can suffer from health effects such as coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and other diseases. Even if you are only briefly exposed, it can cause immediate harm. Secondhand smoke is extremely dangerous to pregnant women as it can cause reproductive health effects, such as low birth weight and, in some cases, sudden infant death syndrome. Smoking regulations are put into place to reduce possible exposures in public areas. According to the World Health Organization, over 70 countries in the world have “smoke-free” policies that ban smoking in public places, workplaces, and public transport to prevent the public from exposure to secondhand smoke.

4. Wear Safety Gear to Avoid Workplace Hazards

Some work environments are at a high risk of containing substances linked with cancer called carcinogens. One of the most well-known carcinogens linked with causing cancer is asbestos. Asbestos causes mesothelioma, a cancer in the lining of your lungs. Workplace exposures can come from industrial chemicals, dust, radiation, and metals. Safety measures differ from country to country and even job to job, but all are set to protect workers from ingesting asbestos and other harmful substances and from getting hurt on the job. Personal protective equipment may include gloves, safety glasses, respirators, hard hats, vests, and full-body suits. If you work somewhere that has high exposure to carcinogens, make sure to follow all safety standards set in place to keep you safe on the job site. Your life might depend on them.

5. Avoid Midday Sun and Wear Protection

Solar radiation, the use of tanning devices, and UV radiation are all proven to be carcinogenic to humans. Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from UV radiation, and avoid UV-emitting tanning beds. Try to avoid long exposure to the midday sun as the rays are stronger and more harmful to your skin. And as always, wear sunscreen to protect your skin from daily exposure. There are two main times of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma is the 17th most common cancer worldwide, and there are more than 150,000 new cases yearly.

Other Ways to Get Involved This Year

There are many ways to get involved in World Cancer Day. Whether you’re a cancer survivor, healthcare worker, student, or someone eager to support the case, you can create change in your community. If you or a loved one is currently suffering from cancer, visit our page for resources, support, and a free case evaluation. On World Cancer Day, the Lung Cancer Center strives to spread awareness and information for those suffering. Here are some ways you can show support and get involved in World Cancer Day:

There are plenty of ways to participate in World Cancer Day. Whether you’re a student, healthcare worker, cancer survivor, or just someone eager to help, you can create change. Here are some ways you can show support:

  • Post on social media using #CloseTheCareGap and #WorldCancerDay.
  • Encourage local landmarks to light up orange and blue in support of cancer.
  • Find an event near you. If none are happening in your community, host your own!
  • Join Lung Cancer Center by adding the World Cancer Day frame to your profile picture on Facebook.
  • Write to your local politicians asking for their support in helping raise public awareness.
  • Inform yourself of the risks of cancer and how to reduce them.
  • Donate to the UICC or other cancer research foundations such as LUNGevity for lung cancer research or the Hirshberg Foundation for World Pancreatic Cancer Day.
  • Businesses, cities, and schools are encouraged to download World Cancer Day’s Action Toolkits and “How To” guides.