Cancer is a terrible disease, and no one should ever have to suffer or watch someone suffer because of it. This week, the disease took the lives of at least four celebrity icons: David Bowie, the legendary singer and actor, Alan Rickman, of Harry Potter fame, Rene Angelil, Celine Dion’s manager and husband, and Brian Bedford, the voice of Robin Hood in the 1973 Disney classic. While these events are all very tragic, there is something good that will come out of these sad deaths: Cancer awareness.
Ideas for a cancer cure have been thrown around for decades as the terrible disease claims more and more lives. In 2015 alone, it was estimated that 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer would be diagnosed, and that approximately 40,290 US women would die from breast cancer. Those figures are just one type of cancer in one country, so you can only imagine how much of the world is actually affected by the many insidious types of cancer that plague mankind.
Despite the extremely high numbers of people affected by cancer – surely everyone has known someone in their lifetime who has been diagnosed with the disease – better cancer awareness is still something needed. Did you know that the American Cancer Society has a Cancer Awareness calendar that highlights different cancer-related campaigns each month?
January 2016, for example, is highlighted as National Cervical Health Awareness Month on the calendar. While all of the noted celebrities who died this week are male, it can be hoped that a little bit of good will come out of their untimely deaths and help bring cancer awareness to higher levels. Did you know that every hour, another woman is diagnosed with or dies from cervical cancer?
David Bowie and Alan Rickman were both relatively young; they were each 69 years old when cancer took them this week. Brian Bedford was a little older, with a ripe 80 years on this Earth, but we can all agree that no age is soon enough to die from this awful disease. As for 73-year-old Rene Angelil, he’d been fighting off throat cancer since first being diagnosed in 1999.
The deaths of these four celebrities have brought together people from all generations, whether they grew up with Brian Bedford as Robin Hood in the 70s, or with Alan Rickman as Professor Snape in the 2000s. While we are mourning these legends, now should be the time to take a stand and spread cancer awareness further.
April will mark the official Cancer Awareness Month, also known as Daffodil Month, for the Canadian Cancer Society. A lot of people think that there’s no way one person can make a difference in the fight against cancer, so they don’t bother to make an effort to help. If everyone who thought that just donated a little – whether time, or money – you’d be amazed by the impact that it would have.
Now that so many prominent figures have put public faces to the disease’s victims in such a short span of time, it is the perfect time to increase cancer awareness campaigning. Not only will donated funds be used for research in the hopes that someday this disease that kills so many will be eradicated, but awareness is important so that people can know the signs and symptoms of various cancer types in order to detect the disease as early as possible and have a higher survival rate.
The American Cancer Society’s most recent annual report on cancer showed that more than 1.7 million cancer deaths were prevented between 1991 and 2012, mostly due to preventative behavior and regular screenings for breast and colon cancers. That’s a pretty big number, but we’re still aiming for something higher.
Cancer kills, as this week has proven on a very public level. Are you doing your part to prevent it from happening to someone close to you?
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