The theme of the 2019 World Cancer Day on 4 February is an empowering “I Am and I Will”.
Organised by the UICC, a membership organisation dedicated to Fighting Cancer Together, World Cancer Day heralds the start of a 3-year call-to-action. Its aim is to encourage everyone to act now and make a personal commitment to reduce the impact of cancer on themselves, the people they love and to help others across the globe.
The UICC’s World Cancer Declaration is clear in its focus “there will be major reductions in premature deaths from cancer, and improvements in quality of life and cancer survival rates”.
Why act now?
Rogue Cancer cells may hold the body prisoner but, thanks to modern day detection and treatment, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a life sentence.
Did you know that more than a third of cancers can be prevented and that another third can be cured if detected early and treated properly?
Incredible breakthroughs in diagnostics, medicines and scientific knowledge have come about because of investments made in research and innovation. By raising understanding about cancer around the world, the hope is to reduce fear, avoid misconceptions and dispel myths.
What is cancer?
With the exception of cancer of the blood (leukaemia), the disease occurs when a group of the body’s normal cells change and become an uncontrolled, abnormal growth known as a tumour. Unless it is treated, the tumour can grow and spread to other parts of the body via the lymphatic system or bloodstream. Broadly speaking, tumours fall into three categories:
Benign tumours are not cancerous, grow slowly, do not spread and really only cause a problem if they grow too large and cause obstruction or press on other organs.
Malignant tumours grow faster and can spread and destroy neighbouring tissue. Cells can break away from the original (primary) tumour and spread to other parts of the body, this is known as metastasis. They can continue to divide and grow from the new site, a condition known as metastatic cancer.
Precancerous or premalignant is a term used to describe cells that could develop into cancer.
Within these groups there are many different types. Carcinomas occur in the lining of cells that protect or enclose organs. They might metastasise to the lymph nodes and other body areas. The most common are prostate, lung, breast and colon cancers. Sarcomas relate to malignant tumours of the bone or soft tissue. Cancer of the cells in the immune system include Lymphoma and Myeloma. Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, and central nervous system cancers may affect the brain or spinal cord.
What can you do?
Take action and help promote World Cancer Day via your business, your school and your own social media. You can find all the details at www.world cancerday.org.
Be informed, be aware and remember that early detection is the best way to beat cancer. Go for that mammogram, send off that poo sample, pee in that pot! Don’t let fear take over or stand in your way, and go ahead and ask doctors those worrying questions. Provide help and support to friends, colleagues and family who are worried or undergoing treatment. Most of all, be positive and believe that, here in France, they have some of the best, most advanced cancer treatments in the world.
The following websites can provide all the advice and information you need if you suspect you have symptoms. They can also offer help and support to both you and your family. www.cancer.gov, www.mcmillan.org.uk, www.cancersupportfrance.org, www.mayoclinic.org. Our blog at www.thelocalbuzzmag.com also gives an insight into breast cancer treatment and health care here in France.
About Cancer Support France
Cancer Support France gives support to English speaking people in France touched by cancer. This support, which may be emotional, practical or with language, is provided through a network of independent French registered associations. It is available free of charge and in complete confidence to patients, their carers, family members and others and is provided by trained Active Listeners. Today, more people are living full lives after a cancer experience either in long term remission or after successful treatment. Support through CSF continues for as long as it is needed.
The first association (there are currently 15) was created in 2002 and, since 2010, all associations are affiliated to Cancer Support France (National).
CSF National provides concrete support to its affiliates, enabling them to concentrate on giving direct support to clients. The website and forum, the telephone and email helplines and an annual trainers’ conference are examples of this support. However, the most important role of CSF National is a common training policy which ensures that the support provided is of the same high and consistent standard, thus every Active Listener follows the same programme.
CSF, which is completely voluntary, is an acknowledged and respected body in France. It is in partnership with La Ligue Contre Le Cancer and is a member of both the European Cancer Patient Coalition and the International Cancer Information Service Group. At local level, our associations work with cancer hospitals and other bodies.
Our blog at www.thelocalbuzzmag.com also gives an insight into breast cancer treatment and health care here in France.
First published in the January/February 2019 issue of The Local Buzz
Im\ges: UICC, Shutterstock