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World Cancer Day 2016: We can. I can.

“We can. I can.” That is the tagline for the 2016 World Cancer Day celebrated on February 4, marking the 10th anniversary of the global awareness campaign. The aim this year was to prove that every single person can make a difference in the fight against cancer.

There are currently approximately 200 known types of cancer, from lung and oesophageal, to bowel and skin cancer.

Lung cancer is by far the biggest killer. Every year it takes the lives of around 1.4 million people globally. That is slightly more than the populations of Birmingham and Coventry combined.

Stomach cancer is the second biggest killer, with around 740,000 deaths per year, and liver cancer is third with 700,000 per year.

Most of recorded cancer cases are found in developed countries, namely in North America, Oceania and Western Europe. Of all global cancer deaths, 70% are found in the developed world.

The number of cancer deaths is not expected to decrease any time soon either. Projections say that the number of cancer deaths will hit 12 million across the world by 2030; a rise of more than 30% in under 15 years.

Estimates show that more than 30% of all cancer deaths could be prevented by a changing lifestyle – including stopping smoking, practising more exercise and using more sun cream.

Cancer has huge economic repercussions, too. It has been estimated that every year cancer costs $290bn (€257bn) to treat – more than half of this is for medical bills. As we reach 2030, that number is expected to increase by more than 35% to $458bn (€405bn).

With these worrying statistics fresh in our mind, let us make sure that together we do our part to beat cancer. We can. I can.

We can:
▪ Inspire action, take action
▪ Stop myths that lead to stigma against cancer patients
▪ Prevent cancer
▪ Encourage schools to educate children on how to prevent cancer
▪ Challenge perceptions
▪ Create healthy environments
▪ Improve access to cancer care
▪ Build a quality cancer workforce
▪ Mobilise our networks to drive progress
▪ Shape policy change
▪ Make authorities aware of the necessity of investing in cancer control
▪ Work together for increased impact

I can:
▪ Make healthy lifestyle choices
▪ Understand that early detection saves lives
▪ Ask for support
▪ Support others
▪ Take control of my cancer journey

Love, and be loved
▪ Be myself
▪ Return to work
▪ Share my story
▪ Speak out
▪ Stop smoking for good
▪ Learn about the signs and symptoms linked to cancer
▪ Go back to work after cancer treatment, to give it the biggest insult of all

World Cancer Day is a chance to reflect on what you can do, make a pledge and take action. Whatever you choose to do, ‘We can. I can’.

Article supplied by the Hospital Particular do Algarve Health Group