In 2012, cancer was discovered in more than 14 million people worldwide with more than 160,000 of them being less than 15 years old. Cancer has a very negative reputation among the general public. Cancer treatment is aggressive and requires patients to have a strong mentality. Many people believe they would not survive the harsh medical treatment following a cancer diagnosis.
But the reality is quite different. Most patients with cancer see cancer as a challenge. They fight. Those who prevail - and there are a lot of them - learn to cherish every minute of their lives afterward.
Friedrich Nietzsche, the great German philosopher, said: "That which does not kill us, makes us stronger." Studies have shown that this is especially true for people who beat cancer, they experience a renewed appreciation of life, they have the more personal strength and a higher level of spiritual satisfaction, and their relationships with other people improve.
Moreover, medicines are improving as we speak. The progress of medical science is relentless. New cancer studies are taking place year after year resulting in improved cancer treatment and deeper knowledge and understanding of the workings of cancer.
It is very important that we adopt a lifestyle that minimises the risk of cancer. Cancer can be prevented by not smoking; not drinking excessive amounts of alcohol; maintaining a healthy body weight; eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; being vaccinated against certain infectious diseases; by reducing red meat consumption; and by limiting sun exposure to reasonable levels. In addition, we should always pay attention to any changes in our health, and go to the doctor immediately if we spot one - It is crucial to detect cancer at an early stage.
But even if you do get cancer, do not despair. Highly skilled teams of cancer treatment specialists - doctors, nurses, pharmacologists and other experts are waiting for you with only one objective: to help you and make you healthy again. Have no doubt, the treatment does help.
Statistic data about cancer
Graph: it is showing total number of deaths from cancer across all agesand both sexes, broken down by cancer type. Source: IHME
Live Life Fully
THE TITLE IS THE MESSAGE OF MANY WHO SUCCESSFULLY SURVIVED CANCER. IT IS COMMON THAT PEOPLE WHO SURVIVED CANCER START TO APPRECIATE LIFE MORE WITH TAKING CARE OF THEMSELVES BY LIVING HEALTHIER. THIS WAS ONE OF THE QUESTIONS WE ASKED KERRY OLSEN, AN ESTEEMED DOCTOR FROM THE MAYO CLINIC (USA).
What is the main reason for cancer? Is it food, pesticides, smoking, hormones used in animals, air pollution, etc.?
There are many causes of cancer. For some types of cancer there are specific causes, and for some, we still do not know the cause. About one-third of all cancers are caused by smoking. So if we can eliminate smoking, we can eliminate about one-third of all cancers. Many cancers are also caused by obesity, and there are always also environmental causes of cancer.
Which is the most important thing for people in terms of preventing cancer?
The most important thing is not to smoke, trying to be physically active, maintaining the normal body weight, trying to eat more plant-based foods, fruits, and vegetables, more natural foods. One of the very best things you can do is to say no to processed foods. The other thing is to make sure that people pay attention to their concerns and worries and arrange for an examination as soon as possible. Because if you find cancer early, you can cure it.
Which are the three most common cancers in your area of treatment?
In my particular area - I am a head and neck cancer surgeon - some of the fastes growing cancers we see are certain types of skin cancers, because people are out in the sun a lot, and maybe thyroid cancers because by using certain ultrasound equipment that can find very small cancers we detect them much sooner. Other cancers that are growing very rapidly are oropharyngeal cancers. These cancers are found at the back of the tongue and in the tonsil. They used to be caused by smoking, but today a more common cause for them is human papillomavirus and they are viral related.
People use cell phones a lot. Do you see a strong connection between mobile phone usage and cancer?
This is a big question that people have been talking about for a long time. They have been asking whether cell phone usage could have a negative impact on the brain. I think that we still do not have an answer to this question. But I tell people that excessive use of anything in life is probably not good - so if someone is doing it all the time, he/she probably shouldn't be. I think that if people practiced more moderation in almost anything they do in life, they would be healthier. So until we are not sure - moderation is good.
Why do people live healthier after surviving cancer?
I think cancer gives them a whole new perspective on life. Many of them are very frightened and worry that it is going to come back because they know it has the potential to take their life. Once they reach the point when we can celebrate with them and say: "You are cured of cancer, enough time has passed, it is not going to come back," many of them say it is like starting life over again. They realize the true appreciation for life and what a gift it is to live for every day, so they want to live it fully.
Why did you choose cancer treatment?
I studied and was trained in the field of otorhinolaryngology. This field is very wide-ranging. You can do microscopic ear surgeries, cosmetic face surgeries, and nose surgeries, but also surgeries of mouth, nose and throat tumors. I found the most challenging things to be the most difficult, but also the most rewarding. It feels very good to be able to help people who are facing a terrible disease and tumors. This brings me the most satisfaction.
Maybe a final thought?
I think more people should live for the day, for the moment, and try to make every day the best day they can.
Author: MyDOCTOR in Europe in cooperation with Lukanc Maja
Lukanc Maja – bio:
Lukanc Maja is a pharmacist in Slovenia. She's also a certified counselor and co-creator of moja-lekarna.com, which provides people and patients with a lot of helpful ideas and items and cooperates with www.mydoctor.si. You can connect with her using email: firstname.lastname@example.org.