“But nobody today can say that one does not know what cancer and its prime cause is. On the contrary, there is no disease whose prime cause is better known, so that today ignorance is no longer an excuse that one cannot do more about prevention. In the meantime, millions of men must die of cancer unnecessarily.” Nobel Prize Winner Otto Warburg
World Cancer Day 2013 (4 February 2013) focused on Target 5 of the World Cancer Declaration: Dispel damaging myths and misconceptions about cancer, under the tagline “Cancer – Did you know?”
There are many myths out there, but we will focus on four major ones.
Find below an exposition on the four of them.
#1: SOCIAL – CANCER IS A Catastrophic illness
A catastrophic illness is defined as the annual medical expenditure in excess of 10% of net income. It affects the family, causing school drop out, divorces, etc.
ECONOMIC —- THE WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE ILLNESS
Cancer’s economic toll was $895 billion in 2008 — equivalent to 1.5 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. That’s in terms of disability and years of life lost — not the cost of treating the disease, which wasn’t included.
POLITICAL – recently in the West African sub-region, two nations have had to grapple with unplanned political transitions, caused by the death of incumbent heads of state from cancer.
HUMAN RIGHTS – The Right to Life is a fundamental human right, so people should not die from preventable cancer.
“Where you live should not determine whether you live or whether you die “- Bono.”
#2: CANCER —THE GREATEST CAUSE OF INEQUALITY IN GLOBAL HEALTH
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the WHO, 80% of cancer deaths take place in poor countries due to lack of funding to deal with the problems. Only 5% of global resources for cancer are spent in developing countries. While there has been a steady decline in cancer deaths in developed countries, there has been a steady rise in developing countries like Nigeria.
#3: MOST OF CANCER DEATHS CAN BE PREVENTED.
A World Health Organisation (WHO) statement of July 3, 2002, said that “of all the cancer cases occurring annually, 1/3 can be prevented, another 1/3 can be effectively cured with early diagnosis, and palliative care can improve the quality of life of the last third”
“Cancer is a word, not a sentence.” Anon