Today, February 4th, 2021, is World Cancer Day. One out of two people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Unfortunately, it is a prevalent disease that can start anywhere in the body with no real cure yet. Although “Cancer” is the name given to various diseases, they all share one common factor: The body’s cells begin to rapidly divide without stopping and spread to encircling tissue.

A person’s cells typically divide and grow in the circumstances such as replacing old cells as the body needs them. When cancer begins, this cell-diving process malfunctions and allows old cells to remain alive past their lifespan. This, in turn, causes new cells to form when they aren’t needed and create tumors. Many types of cancer are conformed by these solid malignant masses of tissue.

Causes & Prevention

Doctor's appointment

Regular check-ups with a doctor

Although a genetic disease, some specific environments, and activities can increase the risk of getting cancer. Some examples include smoke, sun exposure, and unhealthy eating. Prevention can come in several ways:

  • Avoid smoking cigarettes and tobacco.
  • Limit the consumption of alcohol
  • Avoid long periods of sun exposure without proper protection such as sunscreen.
  • Have a healthy body weight.
  • Schedule regular check-ups with a doctor.
  • Perform self-examinations frequently in areas such as the prostate and breasts. 
  • Stay active and exercise often.

Signs and Symptoms

Since today is World Cancer Day, it’s important to briefly touch on symptoms to look out for that can be a sign of cancer. As mentioned previously, cancer makes up a broad spectrum of diseases. A person must speak to their doctor immediately if they notice one or more signs on this list. 

 Breast Changes:

Breast Changes

Worldwide Cancer Day

  • Lumps.
  • Nipple Tenderness.
  • Swelling or inflammation.
  • Pain in the breast and under the armpit.
  • Discharge or bleeding from the nipple.
  • Redness, scaling, or flaky skin around breast and nipple area.
  • Inverted Nipple.

Fingernails & Toenails

  • Swelling, redness, or infections around the nail.
  • Discolored, yellow, or white nails.
  • Ridges or bumps under the nail.
  • Changes in pigmentation by the cuticle.

 Coughing or out of Breath

  • Sharp pain in back, chest, or shoulder when coughing.
  • Pain when taking a deep breath.
  • A persistent cough that lasts more than 3-4 weeks.
  • Breathless feeling even when walking short distances.
  • Shortness of Breath.

Ways to Help

It could be you, a family member, or someone you know who has cancer. Whichever the case, it can difficult watching someone go through such a terrible illness with no real way to assist them besides offering support. 

Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Donate: Every dollar a person donates to cancer organizations supports millions of people worldwide who suffer from this disease. 
  • Check for symptoms: This can be tricky doing even on yourself, but if you notice a close family member or a friend with prominent symptoms, as mentioned above, make sure to bring it up. 
  • Offer your support: If it’s a family member of a close friend suffering from cancer, it’s always nice to let them know you’re around to help. Whether it be to walk their dog, mow the lawn, or just for some company.

You are not alone this World Cancer Day.

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