A global event to raise awareness about cancer, World Cancer Day, takes place on February, 4th and UPMC Whitfield Cancer Centre Waterford is endeavouring to highlight changes that can be made to avert preventable deaths.
The theme of “We can I can” (get involved in the fight against cancer) has been adopted for this year’s campaign along with a “Talking Hands” wall that is aimed to spark discussion about cancer.
According to Catriona McDonald, Director of Operations at UPMC Whitfield Cancer Centre, the wall of “talking hands” combines photos, sketches, and messages from patients and staff about their cancer experiences.
“The idea is one that has generated a huge amount of interest and involvement from our patients and staff. We have created a colourful, decorative wall display in the foyer of the centre. The messages are extremely earnest and powerful and are about the struggle with cancer, hope, family, and empowerment.”
“We can also spread the “We can I can” message, by simply writing a note on your hand, taking a picture of it and sharing on social media using #WorldCancerDay and #WeCanICan. It’s prompting a discussion about cancer, about making healthier lifestyle choices, about taking preventative action to avoid cancer and showing support for those going through cancer treatment and support for their families.”
The Irish Cancer Society cites that 50% of all cancers are preventable and 30% are preventable through lifestyle changes alone, and along with the European Code Against Cancer developed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the European Commission, aims to inform people about actions they can take for themselves to reduce their risk of cancer.
In many cases changes to lifestyle, access to education and maintaining a healthy diet can be the first steps in effectively decreasing the risk of many cancers.
Dr. Dayle Hacking, Medical Director and Consultant Radiation Oncologist at UPMC Whitfield Cancer Centre said, “We have begun to make a difference to cancer mortality rates in the last two decades. This has been done mainly through increased awareness in the population of the need for a healthy lifestyle and regular medical assessment. As well as a systematic approach to research, providing an evidence base for best practice in the screening, diagnosis and treatment of the various different forms of cancer, improvements are being made.”
Since 2006, UPMC Whitfield Cancer Centre has been providing the most advanced radiation therapy treatments for prostate, breast, lung, head and neck and colorectal cancers. UPMC also provides an extensive range of nutritional advice, symptom management, counselling services and palliative treatment programmes to the South East’s public and private patients.
For further information, call UPMC Whitfield Cancer Centre on 051 337444 or visit www.upmcwhitfieldcancercentre.ie