Dispelling myths of cancer on World Cancer Day

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ST JOHN’S, Antigua – President of Breast Friends Eunetta Bird is reminding people here to get regular check-ups as the globe marks the United Nations World Cancer Day today.

Bird said cancer does not discriminate and regular check-ups are a must to catch cancer early.

“Cancer is no respecter of persons. We should all do our annual checks, whether it’s breast or any other cancer. We can use this New Year in January to do our check-ups and focus on our health more,” Bird said.

The United Nations day will focus on Target 5 of the World Cancer Declaration – to dispel damaging myths and misconceptions about cancer, under the tagline “Cancer – Did you know?”

The UN day aims to dispel myths such as cancer is a death sentence and that cancer can not be prevented.

The body, on its Web site, said most cancers can now be treated and up to one in three cancers can be prevented.

The United Nations also dispels as a myth the notion that cancer is just a health issue. It argues instead that cancer also has wide-reaching social, economic, development, and human rights implications.

It said many people also falsely believe cancer to be a disease of the wealthy, elderly and developed countries. The United Nations Web site notes that cancer is a global epidemic, affecting all ages, with low- and middle-income countries bearing a disproportionate burden.

Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. There are more than 100 different types of cancer.

Most cancers are named for the organ or type of cell in which they start – for example, cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer; cancer that begins in basal cells of the skin is called basal cell carcinoma.

There were an estimated 12.7 million cancer cases around the world in 2008, of these 6.6 million cases were in men and 6.0 million in women, according to the world cancer research fund.

This number is expected to increase to 21 million by 2030.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide contributing nearly 13 per cent of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2008.

Breast cancer (women only) is the second most common cancer with nearly 1.4 million new cases in 2008.

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