8 things we all can do for a cancer-free generation

Today is World Cancer Day 2019 and the theme for this year is I am and I will. It is the story of a personal commitment required from each person in every community to create a cancer-free generation and work to make it a global health priority.

Abоut 26,000 people diе frоm cancer еасh dау wоrldwidе. In Nigеriа, саnсеr dеаthѕ аrе ѕtill under-reported but ассоrdinglу tо WHO, аbоut 69,000 реорlе diе yearly frоm саnсеrѕ in Nigеriа.

Here’s what you can do
Advocate vigorously: Advocate for policies and laws by the government such as environmental protection – a depleted ozone layer makes skin cancer more likely, the provision of more resources to fund cancer prevention and treatment, for the government to pass effective anti-tobacco laws and install the sugary drinks tax, for labour laws that protect cancer victims from loss of income, for health insurance that gives qualitative coverage for cancer treatment, among others.

Eat healthy: 4% of cancers worldwide is linked to excessive body weight and in a world where obesity is on the rise due to unhealthy eating, we all can get involved in the fight against cancer by making healthy eating a lifestyle in our families, communities and at work.

Embrace a tobacco-free lifestyle: About 26% of all cancers worldwide are linked to tobacco use. Help install no-smoking policies in your community and workplace, and in schools.

Move! Regular and sufficient physical activity protects against cancer and even helps cancer victims get better faster. Exercise regularly and get your community, colleagues, family and schools to do the same.

Learn: Get education on the signs and symptoms of cancer and how to detect them early. Educate yourself and others. Steadfastly help dispel myths and stigma about cancers. If you have had cancer, share your story. Stories reach further and do more to engender empathy and awareness.

Get screened regularly. Women aged 35 years and above should get screened regularly for breast and cervical cancer. Men 50 years and above should get screened yearly for prostate cancer. Take advantage of free and/or subsidized rates. If you have health insurance, most packages come with free yearly screening. Gift your parents and aged relatives with free screening appointments yearly.

Support cancer patients and survivors who undergo the physical, financial and emotional impacts of cancer and continue even after they have completed therapy. Help them get back to work as much as possible, visit people with cancer, help them pay their hospital bills especially because many do not have health insurance in Nigeria and so pay out of pocket.

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