World Cancer Day: February 4

wcd3Scientists in Israel say they will find the definitive cure to cancer within the year. Who would not like to believe this? Who is there today who has not lost someone to cancer– a family member, a friend, a colleague?

Even as these reports hit the news, there were others saying this was all bunkum.

Well, I do not know enough about the matter. Reason tells me that it is unlikely that a panacea is so close. But my heart would like to believe it.

I have lost my brother to cancer. And the MMs lost a dear, dear friend in her thirties to the Dreaded C. These losses have left indelible imprints, and maybe changed us as people.

But equally have the incredible stories of survivors: young nieces who survived and have made a full lives for themselves; a sister in law so gutsy, I even forget what she has gone through; friends like Anita (who did two guest pieces for the blog last year), who have overcome; an amazing and brave lady I knew in Italy, who not just survived cancer, but started an NGO (called Attive Come Prima) which has helped generations of breast cancer survivors to cope.

It is in this context that Feb 4, World Cancer Day is important. World Cancer Day is an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control to bring focus on the disease and come together to fight it. The day is marked by events across many parts of the world.

It’s a day to take a pause and see what we can do. Know young people who may be vulnerable to taking up smoking? As a parent, teacher, mentor, friend, do what you can to stop them. Know a family battling the C? Be there for them—physically, emotionally, every which way. Know about a good organization working on the issue? Donate generously.

‘9.6 million people die from cancer every year – this number is predicted to almost double by 2030. At least one third of common cancers are preventable. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide. 70% of cancer deaths occur in low-to-middle income countries.’ Union for International Cancer Control.

–Meena

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