Today – February 4, 2013 – is World Cancer Day. This year, World Cancer Day will focus on dispelling some of the damaging myths and misconceptions about cancer. World Cancer Day was created by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), an international network of 760 organizations in 155 counties sharing a passion to eliminate cancer as a life-threatening disease for future generations.
Here are some of the myths that need to be dispelled:
Cancer is just a health issue: More than 13 million people worldwide were diagnosed with cancer in 2010, creating over $290 billion in health care costs. The economic and humanomic costs actually are much higher. Cancer has far-reaching social, economic, development and human rights implications according to the UICC.
Cancer is a death sentence: Many patients can now be cured and others treated effectively so that people can live a long time after diagnosis. We have provided the statistics in other columns, but the point is that, for many cancers, there has been enormous progress in terms of more effective treatments, less toxic treatments, coping with the side-effects, effective screening procedures, a greater understanding of steps to reduce the risks of some cancers. Our better understanding of the microbiology of cancer has accelerated the rate of progress in developing targeted treatments.
Cancer is my fate: Approximately one-third of the most common cancers can be prevented largely through lifestyle changes, such as avoiding tobacco, limiting or eliminating alcohol, eating a healthy diet, avoiding exposure to certain chemicals and unprotected exposure to the sun, and maintaining a healthy weight. Other cancers, such as breast cancer and colon cancer, have effective screenings and early diagnosis makes an important difference.
Other myths: We have heard many myths over the years that some people still believe to be true. Some are reluctant to have surgery because they believe that exposing cancer to the air will make it grow, but that is not the case. Important clinical trials are routinely closed in the United States for lack of patient participation. Many patients still believe that they will be a human “guinea pig.” The reality is that patients participating in clinical trials are carefully monitored and receive the standard of care and may also receive an additional agent that has shown some degree of effectiveness. Another myth is that the sicker a patient feels, the better the chemotherapy is working. Finally, cancer is not as some believe just an issue for developed nations; it is a major health concern in all countries.
Education and awareness are critically important
The tools needed to combat these and other myths are the same tools that are employed to help patients obtain a prompt and proper diagnosis and to obtain the best treatments – education, awareness, and advocacy.
Chicago Blood Cancer Foundation is commemorating World Cancer Day by scheduling the broadcasts of its Battling and Beating Cancer Television Show to encompass World Cancer Day. Accordingly, this winter CAN TV in Chicago is home to several shows of interest to patients and families impacted by cancer. Given that more than one in two men and more than one in three women in America will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetimes, these programs should be of interest to everyone.
Battling and Beating Cancer: The 2013 Season of the Battling and Beating Cancer Television Show kicked off on January 24th and will continue for the next several weeks. The program features interviews with doctors and other members of the health care and advocacy communities and discusses various forms of cancer, with a particular emphasis on blood cancers (lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma).
The Battling and Beating Cancer Television Show airs on Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. Central time on CAN TV Channel 21 in Chicago. The program may be viewed live by suburban residents and anyone from anywhere in the world via internet on the CAN TV website or the Chicago Blood Cancer Foundation web site.
Here are some of the topics and guests expected to appear on the show this season.
- “Mantle Cell Lymphoma, T-Cell Lymphomas, And Chronic Leukemias (CLL and CML)" with Stephanie Gregory, MD Rush University Medical Center (February 7, 2013)
- “Promising research showing gold nanoparticles starve cancer cells to death - what are the positive implications for patients?” with Leo Gordon, MD and C. Shad Thaxton, MD of Northwestern University (upcoming)
- “Lymphomas and Vaccine Therapy” with Carlos Santos, PhD Acientia (upcoming)
- “What Everyone Should Know About Breast Cancer” with Swati Kulkarni, MD of University of Chicago (previously aired)
- "Lymphoma: Developments And Current And Emerging Treatment Options" with Stephanie Gregory, MD, Rush University Medical Center (previously aired)
Additional shows also will air this season.
Follicular lymphoma: February 2013 also will be follicular lymphoma month on CAN TV. On September 15, 2012 – World Lymphoma Awareness Day – the “Follicular Lymphoma: On the Road to Cure” Patient Educational Symposium was held in Chicago at Rush University Medical Center. The symposium, chaired by Dr. Stephanie Gregory, featured leading physicians and advocates from all over the world. CAN TV has divided the symposium into 6 parts and will air them multiple times, including on the dates, times, and channels set forth below.
On the Road to Cure: Treatment & Management of Follicular Lymphoma
Sunday, February 10th, 11:00 AM, Channel 21
Wednesday, February 13th, 8:00 AM, Channel 19
Thursday, February 14th, 12:00 PM, Channel 21
On the Road to Cure: Watch & Wait with Follicular Lymphoma
Sunday, February 10th, 1:00 PM, Channel 21
Thursday, February 14th, 8:00 AM, Channel 19
Friday, February 15th, 12:00 PM, Channel 21
On the Road to Cure: Relapse & Chemo for Follicular Lymphoma
Sunday, February 10th, 2:00 PM, Channel 21
Thursday, February 14th, 9:00 AM, Channel 19
Friday, February 15th, 1:00 PM, Channel 21
On the Road to Cure: Stem Cell Transplants for Follicular Lymphoma
Sunday, February 10th, 3:00 PM, Channel 21
Thursday, February 14th, 10:00 AM, Channel 19
Friday, February 15th, 2:00 PM, Channel 21
On the Road to Cure: Long Term Survival with Follicular Lymphoma
Sunday, February 17th, 11:00 AM, Channel 21
Tuesday, February 19th, 8:00 AM, Channel 19
Wednesday, February 20th, 12:00 PM, Channel 21
On the Road to Cure: Moving Towards a Cure for Follicular Lymphoma
Sunday, February 17th, 12:00 PM, Channel 21
Wednesday, February 20th, 8:00 AM, Channel 19
Thursday, February 21st, 12:00 PM, Channel 21
Informative radio shows are coming up later in the year in the upcoming season of the Battling and Beating Cancer Radio Show. Episodes from the first three seasons are available on demand at the Battling and Beating Cancer Radio Show web page.
As we commemorate World Cancer Day, it is important to keep in mind that surviving cancer and curing cancer begin with awareness and education. Although World Cancer Day may be commemorated on a single day, it is important for us to focus on cancer awareness, prevention, treatment, research, advocacy, and education every day. Our thanks to all of the physicians, researchers, nurses, healthcare providers, advocates, and other people on the front lines helping people with cancer every day.