When it comes to cancer, it's now a reality that has touched so many people's lives in one shape or another. We hear of people dying from the “BIG C” on a daily basis. Even with everything that's going on with Covid-19, Cancer is still a huge deal. There are facts about cancer that some may not know yet, which are extremely important to understand when helping a loved one or yourself when going through medical treatments.
There are few words in the English language more terrifying than “cancer”. Statistics show that nearly four in 10 Americans will be diagnosed with some form of the condition in their lifetime, and most of us will know at least one person who has been diagnosed. Although we are this familiar with cancer, its mere mention is still enough to make many of us freeze in fear.
3 Simple Facts About Cancer Everyone Needs to Know
As time goes on, new information emerges about all health conditions; usually for the better, offering us ways to understand how to avoid the worst, how to react to a scare, and – in the cases where we are diagnosed – how to treat it. So, what are the present-day realities of this frightening six-letter word?
Who is at risk?
One of the top facts about cancer is the risk of being diagnosed. Of course, the word “cancer” in and of itself only tells us so much. There are almost as many types of cancer as there are parts of the body. All are potentially deadly, but some have markedly better survival rates than others. One thing we do know is that some groups are at greater risk than others.
The older you are, the more vulnerable you are to cancer. Additionally, smokers, heavy drinkers and obese people are at risk, while exposure to radiation (including the sun’s UV rays) is a danger too. You can limit your risk by eating (and drinking) a cleaner diet and avoiding tobacco – and by either covering up when out in the sun or regularly applying high-SPF sunblock.
What should I look out for?
While cancer has come to be synonymous in many people’s minds with a lump, you won’t always find one and you shouldn’t rule cancer out because there is no lump. Often, the first a person knows of their condition is when they are tested routinely when reporting symptoms such as excessive fatigue, chronic pain, or anomalous bleeding. The uncomfortable truth, however, is that cancer can lie hidden for some time, and there is no short-cut to diagnosis. It's one of the facts about cancer that isn't talked about enough.
If you experience a change in how you feel physically, and it persists for longer than a couple of weeks, go to your doctor to find out more. Self-reporting symptoms early on offer the best chance of surviving cancer – and is the quickest way to rule out its presence, too.
What if I become one of those four in 10?
The good news is that survival rates are on the increase in the long-term, and that is due in no small part to a better understanding of cancer, and resulting in better treatments. Options such as visiting a proton therapy center among others offer an alternative, or an augmentation, to the feared chemotherapy that has been the standard treatment for so long.
Some cancers are more survivable than others, but the truth is that whatever the form it takes, it’s still a diagnosis that nobody wants to hear. Don’t let that dissuade you from seeking medical assistance – the most valuable resource in fighting cancer is time.
If you’re concerned about the threat of cancer, it’s important to give yourself the best chance of avoiding it and the best shot at beating it. Look after your health, and don’t let the fear of bad news keep you from speaking to your doctor. As always, read up and get educated on the facts about cancer. It will help you become more aware.