10 talks to help you better understand cancer
Originally posted on TED Blog:
When you hear the word “cancer,” what do you think about? And how do you know what you think you know? Do you think of cancer as a disease of the old or as something that can affect anyone, as a death sentence or as a surmountable twist of fate? When you picture someone with cancer, who are they and where do they live?
Today is World Cancer Day, an annual campaign organized by the Union for International Cancer Control to raise awareness about cancer-related issues. This year’s theme is “Cancer—Did You Know?” and the goal is to highlight myths about the disease and replace them with facts.
The organization has put forth four major myths: that cancer is just a health issue, that it affects only the elderly and those in rich and developed countries, that it is a death sentence, and that it is fate. The UICC lays out its own counterpoints to these myths here, here, here, and here. The main take-home is that cancer affects people in all parts of the world, and is quickly worsening in less developed nations. All that disease is an incredible economic burden on both individuals and societies, and is particularly acute for women in developing nations who make up the majority of the 750,000 annual deaths from cervical and breast cancer.