Today is World Cancer Day, as founded by the Union for International Cancer Control. This year, the focus is on reducing the stigma and dispelling myths about cancer.
The World Cancer Day website mentions four such myths:
Myth 1: We don't need to talk about cancer.
Truth: While cancer can be a difficult topic to address, particularly in some cultures and settings, dealing with the disease openly can improve outcomes at individual, community and policy levels.
Myth 2: There are no signs or symptoms of cancer.
Truth: For many cancers, there are warning signs and symptoms and the benefits of early detection are indisputable.
Myth 3: There is nothing I can do about cancer.
Truth: There is a lot that can be done at an individual, community and policy level, and with the right strategies, a third of the most common cancers can be prevented.
Myth 4: I don't have the right to cancer care.
Truth: All people have the right to access proven and effective cancer treatments and services on equal terms, and without suffering hardship as a consequence.
That last statement may not be universally accepted by Americans - whose Constitution enshrines rights that do not place an obligation on others - but we all can be glad our culture does not place a stigma on cancer diagnosis. And we can make it a goal to engage in fundraising to provide cancer patients with access to therapies and services.
Detecting, treating and - better yet - preventing cancer are objectives that we can work toward, today and every day.