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The phrase “cancer awareness” means different things to different people. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, you have become aware of one aspect of the disease in a very personal way, which is natural to want to share that knowledge with others.
Researchers and doctors who know certain behaviors can promote or hinder cancer development are motivated to raise cancer awareness to help people stay healthy.
Research has shown that early detection and treatment provide the best chance to control, and possibly eliminate, diseases such as cancer. Some examples include encouraging women to get annual Pap tests to check for cervical cancer, and mammograms to screen for breast cancer.
Similarly, men are encouraged to get annual prostate exams. Doctors who encourage their patients to have these tests are trying to advance cancer awareness to reduce the number of people who will be diagnosed with cancer each year.
National and international organizations work together to promote cancer awareness on specific days each year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information about many cancer awareness special events and monthly designations. The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) marks February 4 as World Cancer Day each year. UICC encourages groups and supporters around the world to host events to promote awareness of cancer on that date.
November 17, 2011 is The American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout – a day to educate smokers and encourage them to quit smoking in an effort to avoid lung cancer.
Many organizations including the American Cancer Society work to extend cancer awareness as well raise money to fund cancer research. The organization lists volunteer opportunities and accepts donations on its website.