Wednesday, November 7, 2012

According to the UICC (Union ofInternational Cancer Control) an average of 7.6 million people die of cancer every year and its more than the number of people who die from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. There are more than 270 types of cancers recognized today. It is one of the few diseases which are growing rather than reducing. One of the most critical reasons for cancer has been the inability to find its exact cause. The cause for cancer is usually complex and multiple.

The key question here is how do we prevent cancer when we don’t know how it is caused?

The answer is awareness. The most common causes of cancer include tobacco,  obesity, an insufficient diet, physical inactivity, alcohol, sexually transmitted infections, and air pollution. Most of these are controllable and only if are aware of them we will be able to make better choices.

Photo Credit: Health For Us

It is unfortunate that most of the people who actively take part in cancer prevention and awareness programs are often people who have either directly or indirectly been affected by it. Why do wait till we experience the suffering and death first hand rather than take simple preventive steps. Millions are spent every year to raise awareness about cancer yet majority of the people Google cancer is after they have been diagnosed with it.

The philanthropy and photography club collaborated for a breast cancer awareness campaign at the Manipal University last week. The campaign included a wearing pink or white to show support, photography competition, a photo booth, an exhibition of models created by the students of Interior Design department and talk by the doctors from Al Shams Medical Center.

Photo Credit: Frames photography club

Of all the activities in the campaign the most important was the talk by the doctors who discussed the causes and preventive steps that can be taken but unfortunately it was the activity that was least attended. We wore pink ribbon and pink clothes, took pictures and posed with cards that said “I’m aware”, but are we? I hope we don’t wait to be aware till the doctor asks us to.

This month we are trying to bring awareness for prostate cancer and other male cancer initiatives through “Movember” is an annual, month-long event involving the growing of mustaches during the month of November. Hopefully we make an effort to  not only become aware ourselves but help spread awareness.

By Syeda Nawab Fathima

The writer is a media and communications student specializing in Journalism in Manipal University, Dubai.