All You Need Is Love…and a Healthy Lifestyle
It’s February. Love is in the air, red roses abound, and we find ourselves munching on those annoying little heart candies. But for the American Cancer Society, February takes on significance beyond Cupid’s errant arrows. February is National Cancer Prevention month, and February 4th is World Cancer Day. World Cancer Day is an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the largest and oldest international cancer organization. Its primary objective is to raise awareness and encourage people to talk, read, and learn about cancer, its treatment, and prevention. This year’s theme is “We can. I can.” The theme explores how everyone, individually and collectively, can take action and reduce the negative impacts of cancer. Heather Bryant, VP of Cancer Control with the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, explains that “On World Cancer Day, we have an opportunity to collectively examine cancer control strategies to identify winning formulas that will accelerate progress. The goal for all of us is to ensure fewer people develop cancer, more people are successfully treated, and that there is a better quality of life for people during treatment and beyond.”
Our local chapter of the American Cancer Society encourages the community to join in observing National Cancer Prevention Month. Research reported by ACS has shown that nearly half of all cancer deaths in the United States could be avoided by pursuing healthy lifestyle choices, avoiding smoking, and getting recommended cancer screenings. World Cancer Day offers an opportunity to raise awareness about cancer in a positive, inspiring way. The initiative offers suggestions for individuals to take action such as eating healthy and being active, wearing sunscreen, asking for support, and understanding that early detection saves lives. It also offers suggestions for groups to take action including challenging myths and misinformation about cancer, helping shape policy changes, improving access to care, and helping to create healthy schools and workplaces.
So, join the movement and unite with countries around the world to raise the profile of cancer in an active, positive way. Treat your sweetheart to a special Valentine’s gift this year. Beyond the box of candy or floral bouquet, make a date to cook a healthy meal together, go for a hike with the kids, make an appointment for that screening your loved one has been putting off. Be creative in celebrating the things we can do to help stay cancer free. Even post your World Cancer Day healthy living activities on the ACS Facebook page. Visit www.Facebook.com/ACSSantaClaritaValleyOffice.
Join the American Cancer Society in its mission to save lives, celebrate survivorship, and make the world free from cancer. According to Sandy Ends, chair of the local ACS Leadership Council, “Cancer is not one person’s health issue–it is not a Santa Clarita Valley or California or national issue. World Cancer Day reminds us, throughout the entire world, to celebrate our survivors, honor those who have passed, and never stop the fight to end the world of cancer. Santa Clarita is a shining example of survivors and warriors–our community is the very best!”
Mary Petersen is a COC English instructor, longtime SCV resident, and two-time breast cancer survivor.
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