Cancer has touched most of our lives and we know the harsh impact it has on life. The realities of cancer continue long after treatment has finished. Many cancer survivors go through depression within the first year after treatment as they adjust to the emotional roller coaster they've ridden along for more than 12 months. Cancer is a brutal test for the spirit and getting through it and emerging into wellness is a long journey that is a combination of medical treatment, emotional support, practical support and TLC.
Organisations like the McGarth Foundation, with it's focus on bringing Breast Cancer Care Nurses to all regions around Australia, are making a real and lasting difference for cancer patients but sadly for many people around the world this kind of care and support is only a pipe dream.
It's estimated that there are 28 million people living with cancer and by 2010 it will be the leading cause of death around the world - taking away more people than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.
The Lance Armstrong Foundation is organising the LIVESTRONGGlobal Cancer Summit in Dublin, Ireland, August 24-26, 2009 to make the case for urgent action to address the global cancer burden and introduce new commitments for cancer control by bringing together key stakeholders from all parts of the world in an unprecedented show of solidarity.
The aims of creating the change that's needed in the world to better fight cancer and look after those with cancer is the same for both of these life affirming organisations.
While in Australia we're very lucky with our cancer care programs there is still much that can be done to make it better, to have more people surviving cancer with early detection, research achievements and bringing cancer treatment services closer to regional Australians.
Yet internationally the situation is much worse as cancer doesn't recognise borders. In Africa some women turn down cancer treatment for fear of being stigmatised as being treated for AIDs instead of cancer, even though without treatment they can't survive. In the USA women can wait more than 8 weeks for vital surgery to remove cancerous tumors because of the medical insurance situation when it is known that the faster the cancer is removed the higher the survival rates.
The LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign is about making global change by urging world leaders, leading cancer organisations and cancer survivors to join together by making commitments to take action in their communities to reduce the burden of cancer. The Cancer Summit in Dublin will bring key stakeholders in both government, community groups, non-government organisations, researchers and institutes together to create real change.
So how can you make your voice heard at this Cancer Summit? Signup to the World Cancer Declaration by the Live Strong Action program that lets people show their support. The Commit to Fight Cancer campaign is a great way to get your voice heard to make real change possible.
The LIVESTRONGGlobal Cancer Campaign has seen Lance Armstrong cycling in Australia to raise awareness and build support as well as in the US and Italy. There are more touring events planned with their details announce in the Lance Armstrong blog as well as the FaceBook page.
When cancer comes into our lives through our own experience or those of who we care about we need to fight back, to do our bit. Signing up to the campaign to Fight Cancer is a fast and immediate action, donating to cancer research and breast care nurses is another practical and empowering action to take. So too is volunteering with a local cancer organisation as every bit makes a real difference.
While men like Glenn McGrath and Lance Armstrong have powerful personal motivation for being part of creating real change with cancer there is always more that we as individuals can do and directly supporting their organisations is fast and easy way to make it happen.
Huge in roads have been made with cancer research meaning that each year more people are surviving and more families are kept together. Still more needs and can be done and each of us has the power to make good happen.