Cancer is preventable, treatable, curable

October 2, 2009

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I mentioned in my previous blog that the Go Public conference got me thinking. Here are some of my thoughts.

Preventable: How can we prevent the cancers that are preventable?

Eating healthy food, exercising regularly, reducing our level of stress, avoiding cigarettes and alcohol, plus a long list of environmental factors over which we don’t always have control. Anything new here? We (society, individual, world) all seem to know what to do, but don’t always do it. What’s up with that? Not sure exactly. Part of what public health focus on is to understand behaviors in order to change them. We could ban everything that is bad for us, but I am not sure this would automatically make us adopt healthier lifestyles. It seems everything can give us cancer, so where should we put our priorities, and what should we focus on if we want to take part in the change? Who should we put pressure on?

Have a clear message and empower people

One of the conclusions of this Go Public Forum was that the cancer world needs to create a movement; it needs its own Greenpeace activist group to be in the face of the right people, to create waves, and to channel the anger of the general population. Great idea, but who can do it? Most participants at the conference seem to think the younger people (12-30ish) were the ones with the power. As mentioned by Steve Hildebrand, the generation of the ongoing conversation (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, email, messenger, text messages, etc.) should be in charge.

Okay, let’s say we buy into this, then we also need to be coherent. For a generation to be strong and influential, it needs to be healthy. I agree with the idea that young people can make a difference, and I believe that young adult cancer survivors can have an even bigger impact if we give them the opportunity.

To me, that just reinforces the need to put some focus on the young adult population. All of them who are living with cancer need proper care, sufficient and relevant support, access to clinical trials, they also need to be heard when they go see a doctor and say something is wrong, they need attention if they want to be part of the big mission to control cancer.

Hildebrand said we will solve problems best if we do it together. I completely agree with that statement. In other words, the power resides in the community and starts within ourselves. I am not sure where we need to start and what we need to do. Does writing this count?

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