Open Dialogue: The Importance of Cancer Awareness

The general view of cancer is that of a metaphorical “big bad wolf.” The majority of us see it portrayed as such through the media we consume, lucky enough to never have to experience it firsthand. People see cancer as something terrible, sure, but almost fictional.

No one ever thinks it will happen to them or someone they love — until it does.

The topic of cancer tends to avoid conversation due to it being a deemed uncomfortable or inappropriate topic. Little do people realize that raising awareness and educating others about cancer can actually save lives. Multiple cancer research organizations have proven that early detection and treatment often lower the odds of complications due to cancer. By opening dialogue around cancer, and encouraging regular testings, lives could not only be changed but saved.

The poor awareness that currently exists surrounding cancer only leads to delays in diagnosis. A lot of people relent on getting cancer tests because they are deemed invasive by the general public but the irony is that there are multiple options available that are safe for annual use that people do not know about, again because of the discomfort behind the word “cancer.” Research shows that the majority of individuals with cancer seek diagnosis during the late stages, since they were never taught what to look for or notice when it comes to cancer. Even though there are limited awareness rallies that occur globally, they tend to focus only on specific or “common” cancers. The lack of education surrounding all types of cancers means that people walk around undiagnosed because again they were never taught what to look for. They may not even realize that the type of cancer they have exists!

Emphasizing, promoting and developing awareness in the general population, and the importance of early detection, play major roles in the treatment of all types of cancer. Additionally, by creating awareness around cancer, people are encouraged to make healthier lifestyle choices. It is important to create cancer awareness by removing the stigma and fear attached to the word. Although the lives affected by cancer already cannot be reversed, by starting a conversation and thereby working towards prevention, individuals and their families can get a chance at normalcy.

Sources:

“Awareness and Prevention.” Love Heals Cancer, 31 Mar. 2020, https://lovehealscancer.org/our-programs/awareness-and-prevention/.

“Cancer Awareness.” Indian Cancer Society, https://www.indiancancersociety.org/what-do-we-do/awareness.aspx.

Haw, Mitchell. “The Importance of Cancer Awareness.” ALFA, 30 Aug. 2018, https://www.alfascientific.com/health-matter/importance-cancer-awareness/.

Tesfaw, Aragaw et al. “Late-Stage Diagnosis and Associated Factors Among Breast Cancer Patients in South and Southwest Ethiopia: A Multicenter Study.” Clinical breast cancer vol. 21,1 (2021): e112-e119. doi:10.1016/j.clbc.2020.08.011

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