06 February 2010

World Cancer Day

My boyfriend sent me this link yesterday.

Embarrassingly, I admit that I had no clue it was such an occasion. But, whenever I see the word "world" as a descriptor of anything, I think it's a big deal. This one should be. The numbers WHO cites are staggering:

"Cancer is a leading cause of death around the world. WHO estimates that 84 million people will die of cancer between 2005 and 2015 without intervention."
It seems to me as though cancer awareness should be more wide-spread than it already is. I know that before I got sick, cancer just seemed to be this huge white elephant in the room that no one wanted to look at. But once it made a move, everything/everyone around it is near destroyed. It was always something at arms' length. The lethal mystery disease! And the only time I was keenly aware of cancer would be when the annual Walk for the Cure would come around.

I can't escape it. And not that this is a bad thing. But the difference is just notable -- from cancer being at arm's length to it being everywhere. I would like for others (untouched by cancer and hopefully never touched by it) to have at least half the awareness I have. Granted I have a hypersensitive awareness to it. It can no longer be that white elephant, or that mystery disease that everyone is afraid of. People can no longer think "it can't happen to me" because it does!

But in addition to the disease itself, I hope for heightened awareness to those of us living with it. I think it's safe to say that our population has grown exponentially over the past decade at least. We (those touched by cancer) exist and therefore should be acknowledged and can't be in the fringe. We're part of society and should be.

How many famous people got cancer last year? How many famous people got out of remission last year? How many famous people died of cancer last year? Now multiply that by at least 1,000,000 and that's how much more had died probably. Never mind those that are/were sick with it and living with it, like you and me and some we know. It's almost an epidemic.

So, it's ironic that the day wherein cancer awareness was supposed to be in focus just eeked by most of us -- like cancer just slowly creeps. The silent killer.

The good thing is that this seems to be an annual event:

"Each year on 4 February, WHO supports International Union Against Cancer to promote ways to ease the global burden of cancer"
Perhaps next year, it would be a "noisier" day. I'll certainly mark it on my calendar and see what kind of noise I can organize around the day.

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