“Debunk the Myths” – Theme for World Cancer Day 2014

This year’s theme for the World Cancer Day –  “Debunk the Myths” is very apt for our country. Four myths have been highlighted by in this year’s agenda:myths

Source: www.worldcancerday.org

Myth 1:  We don’t need to talk about cancer
Truth: Whilst cancer can be a difficult topic to address, particularly in some cultures and settings, dealing with the disease openly can improve outcomes at an individual, community and policy level.

Myth 2: There are no signs or symptoms of cancer
Truth: For many cancers, there are warning signs and symptoms and the benefits of early detection are indisputable.

Myth 3: There is nothing I can do about cancer
Truth: There is a lot that can be done at an individual, community and policy level and with the right strategies; a third of the most common cancers can be prevented.

Myth 4: I don’t have the right to cancer care
Truth: All people have the right to access proven and effective cancer treatments and services on equal terms, and without suffering hardship as a consequence.

Everyone should come together and spread these messages across the community, so that maximum people can benefit from them. Another point which needs attention in our country is the Social Stigma, which some cancer survivors have to face. It needs to be highlighted that cancer is not contagious and that a cancer patient/survivor has the right to live a normal life.

Natural Protection against Breast Cancer – Breastfeeding

Thanks to public health messages, everyone pretty much knows that breastfeeding is beneficial for baby. But it also benefits the mother in more than one way. Somebody has rightly said that “Breastfeeding is nature’s health plan.” One of the benefits of breastfeeding to the mother is the reduction in the risk of breast cancer.

The major study that supports breastfeeding as a protective factor against breast cancer was published in Lancet in 2002.  The study authors found that the rate of breast cancer diagnoses was slightly lower among women who had breastfed and among women who had breastfed for longer periods of time.

For every 12 months of breastfeeding (either with only 1 child, or as the total period of time for several children), the risk of breast cancer decreased by 4.3%, compared to women who did not breastfeed. Risk decreased by a further 3.4% for each child breastfed, compared to women who did not breastfeed.

Although a 4% lowering of risk does not sound much but with the increasing incidence of breast cancer, if new mothers adhere to the recommended guidelines of breastfeeding their children for one year, they could theoretically prevent up to 5000 cases of breast cancer each year.

In India, where breast cancer incidence is on the rise (especially in the urban areas), breastfeeding could have a greater impact in prevention of breast cancer. Currently, WHO is celebrating the World Breastfeeding Week and educating mothers about the advantages of breastfeeding, not only to the children but to the mothers as well and all of us should make an effort to spread this word around.

Prevention is better than cure!!

Prevention is better than cure!!