Posted by: audreybenenati | February 5, 2010

A World of Difference

Cancer isn’t just emotionally devastating. New research shows that the global economic toll is huge. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Today is World Cancer Day. Most of us, however, are affected by cancer every day—by the memories of loved ones we’ve lost, by the struggle for survival that friends and family members are enduring, or by our own experiences battling the disease. Tragically, far too many people who should beat cancer die from it. In fact, 40 percent of all cancer is preventable and one-third can be cured if detected early and treated effectively.

The problem of preventable deaths is most prevalent in developing nations, where those with curable cancers simply don’t get the medicine they need to live, because they either don’t have access to care or they’re diagnosed too late. And others, sadly, fight not only a disease but the prejudice and stigma that go hand in hand with it in many cultures. In India, researchers from LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s global movement to support those affected by cancer, encountered a heartbroken young man battling cancer in virtual isolation. Afraid of contracting cancer, his friends avoided him and his community cut him off. But the problem isn’t isolated to developing nations. Even in America, the wealthiest country in the world, too many are dying needlessly from cancer every year, and the No. 1 cause of cancer is the same here as it is around the world: tobacco. Nearly 20 percent of all deaths in the United States every year result from tobacco use.

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