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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fight Cancer Now: Screening and Early Diagnosis Can Save Your Life

Through the years, extensive research and studies have been done to demystify the causes and treatment of cancer.  Still, cancer remains to be one of the top causes of death around the world. Obviously, there is still more to be done. But scientists have found that early detection and correct treatment can save lives.

Mammography at UPMC
In the Philippines, reported cases of cancer are usually made at a later stage, when the symptoms are visible and have become unbearable for the patient. It shows that, generally, Filipinos lack concern about health. Often, unless obligated to for employment or travel abroad, we tend to postpone a medical check-up. 

Yes, I am guilty of this. It has been years since I had a thorough medical check-up. I am actually scared that a test would confirm an illness. And that is primarily why many Filipinos postpone a health check-up. More consideration, I think, should be taken for people who are exposed to carcinogens. Carcinogens are substances that tend to put one at risk with cancer.

For instance, a proven carcinogen, Captafol was used to control fungi in fruits and vegetables. In the late 90s, it has been banned in the US. I am just not sure if our farmers/producers are still using treatments with Captafol locally. Formaldehyde has long been found to cause cancer. However, it is still widely used as a preservative (medical and consumer products) and in the production of  resin (used in manufacture of plastics, synthetic fiber, paper and textile coats). Other factors, such as frequency of  exposure and a person's vulnerability, determine if exposure to carcinogens become an occupational hazard and increase one's likelihood to develop cancer.

In the last seven  years, however, six of our relatives have been diagnosed with cancer. Only three of them have been diagnosed and treated early. And we are very blessed that they sought medical assistance during the early stages of cancer. It was unfortunate, however, that I met someone who lost his fight with cancer. I had wanted to help my friend but failed. Prayers were the only consolation I could turn to. It was difficult yet he was not even my relative.

Cancer can be inherited or it can be caused by a lot of external factors. Actually, too many to put them all here. According to the World Health Organization, 30% of cancer cases can be prevented. Among the risk factors that should be avoided include:
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Unbalanced diet
  • Alcohol
  • Air Pollution
  • Too much sun exposure
  • Exposure to hazardous gases and radiation (home and work environment)
Elastography at Koronadal
Knowing more about what we buy and the activities we engage in may save our life, too. For instance, intake of carcinogenic substances (possibly used in the cultivation and manufacture of our food) may lead to side-effects many years after we eat them. I know, I can't possibly remember everything I've read about carcinogens but it pays to know them and be cautious.

With the loss of our family members and the thousands of people who fought silently with cancer, I pray that we would encourage our family and friends to have a medical screening as soon as possible. Last year, in a conference on using technology for early breast cancer detection, use of the elastograph was recommended by oncologists. Elastography is painless and now available in the Philippines. Don't wait until a physical manifestation because it may just be too late. 

If you are a blogger, you are invited to join the Charity Blogging for Cancer Awareness. This activity serves an effort to increase awareness that early detection and prevention can reduce the risks of cancer.

If you are a survivor or know someone who is fighting cancer today, do let them know that a whole-day event is being prepared for them in December. 

If you have some change to spare, and want to help brighten a cancer-warrior's day, you may send donations (via Paypal) to doc_alma_jones (at) yahoo (dot) com.


If you are non of the above, I'm sure you have a Facebook or Twitter account, please...please, tweet or share this on your wall to help reach out to others. You may just be an angel to someone who needs help today.

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3 comments:

Thanks for this entry! The charity event for cancer patients will be on December 3 & 4.

Please spread the word because I am cordially inviting anyone who has had cancer before. If you have relatives, friends, or if you know any indigent patients with cancer, please invite them! 50 slots only though. :/

Details: http://www.lifeandfever.com/2011/11/cancer-advocacy-santa-special-2011.html

Thank you once again!

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New technologies like these are really helpful. My friend is suffering from actos bladder cancer, and it would be better if only we could have find it earlier. I encourages everyone to take these kinds of tests so as to prevent and cure cancer earlier.

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