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Daffodil Day – Your Day to Show you Care
Dr Duncan Jefferson explains why it’s important to support the Cancer Council this Daffodil Day
Each day I check the internet for the latest news on what is happening in world medicine: and believe you me, there’s a huge amount of activity in the area of medical research! Scientists are working with tiny nano-particles and hitching them to drugs and special ‘delivery’ systems so that cancer-killing medicines can target cancer cells, getting inside them to deliver their deadly load. The outcome of this approach is a more focused treatment, smaller doses of often toxic chemicals and less collateral damage to healthy tissue.
This is just one example of what medical researchers are doing, but it’s not just tiny stuff happening within our cells where the scientists are having an impact on cancer. There are big environmental issues that we are becoming more aware of and which we need to do more about:
- Tobacco just took a big hit with the hoped-for introduction of plain packaging of cigarettes. More needs to be done as smoking not only damages the smoker’s health, it also damages those who are passive smokers too, and with smokers no longer able to smoke within buildings, they have taken to the pavements where we pedestrians are being exposed to more smoke than ever!
- We’ve known about the dangers of asbestos for years, but there’s still a great deal of it in our environment. It needs to be handled with great care if those deadly fibres are to be kept out of our lungs where they can lead to deadly mesothelioma, often decades later.
- A lot of Aussies enjoy an alcoholic beverage, but regular users need to be aware that alcohol also increases the risk of head and neck cancer - yet another sting in the tail of our favourite social lubricant that we have yet to realise can do more harm than good.
- All of us should be aware of the Slip, Slop, Slap and protect message that is so important for protecting our soft skin against the radiation effects of too much sun exposure. Yet young people still go to the beach and bake in the sun.
The subject of cancer is enormous and one head cannot hold all the information on it, because it’s not just a small localised disease that we need to treat, it’s a hugely complex interaction between our genetics, environmental factors, diet, emotions and probably many other things we are yet to discover. And when we come to treating the various diseases that come under the cancer heading, we need to tailor the treatment to the individual if we are to have maximum effect with minimal side-effects. It really is a huge subject, and one that is beyond the ability of the average ‘man in the street’ to comprehend, which probably accounts for all the folklore and fear that surrounds the illness.
That’s why the Cancer Council is so important because it is trying to provide digestible information for all of us, and pitch it in such a way that it is encouraging, yet remains accurate and honest.
The diagnosis of cancer brings with it a big emotional impact and affects, not only the person with the disease, but also the family and the community within which they live and work. These people need support and accurate information as well – yet another function the Cancer Council fills with professionalism and empathy.
Daffodil Day is one way in which we can all say “I can make a difference”.
All of us can put our hands in our pockets and give a small donation or a large cheque, and both gestures are vital to the funding of the work done by the Cancer Council. But it’s at the level of moral support where your help and support come in. This year the Cancer Council is hoping to raise over $9 million which will not only give a big boost to the organization, but also give hope to everyone who has been diagnosed with cancer during the time you are reading this article.
Imagine the boost they would get if you gave 50% more, because here’s where the money will be going:
$5 can give a newly diagnosed cancer patient important support and information resources to help them through their cancer journey.
$10 can help offer free exercise programs to help cancer patients build strength and fitness during and after treatment.
$25 can help transport cancer patients to and from hospital for treatment.
$50 can help the Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20 provide free and confidential information and support on all aspects of cancer.
$100 can help provide free accommodation to cancer patients, their families and carers during treatment.
$500 can help fund ground-breaking research into new and better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
With our advancing understanding of the mechanisms of the various cancers that humans suffer from, there is an awareness that our aim should be more on the control of cancer as opposed to the more wished-for idea of a cure for cancer. Controlling cancer would mean that we will treat it like we treat blood pressure, asthma or glaucoma with ongoing reviews and safe treatments thus allowing people to live normal lives with a normal life-span.
In the meantime, what most of those with cancer need is confidence in their hospital team and the emotional support of a caring community at home. Support the Cancer Council who are vital partners in the care of cancer patients and their families, and show them you care by buying and wearing a daffodil this week.
Article written by Dr. Duncan Jefferson. For more articles by Dr. Duncan, click here. For more information on healthcare and private health cover, visit HBF Insurance at www.hbf.com.au.
The content of these articles is not tailored for any particular individual's circumstances. The author does not take into account your physical condition, medical history or any medication you may be taking. Any advice or information provided by the author cannot replace the advice of your health care professional. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent those of HBF unless clearly indicated.