17 May 2007


© The Lance Armstrong Foundation

Today is LIVESTRONG DAY, a day of activism and support for those battling cancer, remembrance for those who have lost the fight, and recognition to all others (family, scientists, medical staff, etc) who are trying to find a cure for this horrible disease. This day seeks to support legislation that will enhance early detection efforts, provide more comprehensive treatment and also help with survivorship services. This day, as well as the full-fledged campaign behind it, is spearheaded and run by the Lance Armstrong Foundation, with Mr. Armstrong not only being a legendary Tour de France cycling winner, but also a cancer survivor himself.

You can read about how you can help from this link to the Foundation site. If you can't attend a rally today in your area, at least consider making a contribution or using their online link to Congress to add your name to the millions who want better treatment and support for patients here. Show some support today, even it means just wearing some yellow (the colour adopted by the campaign and is on all of their merchandise).

And, not that anybody should need them, but here are two major reasons why LIVESTRONG day is so important (statistics taken from The National Cancer Institute's Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) "Cancer Stat Fact Sheets", any bolds used below are mine):

On survival:
"Survival rates can be calculated by different methods for different purposes. The survival rates presented here are based on the relative survival rate, which measures the survival of the cancer patients in comparison to the general population to estimate the effect of cancer. The overall 5-year relative survival rate for 1996-2003 from 17 SEER geographic areas was 64.9%. Five-year relative survival rates by race and sex were: 65.5% for white men; 66.2% for white women; 58.6% for black men; 53.8% for black women."

On lifetime risk:
Based on rates from 2002-2004, 40.93% of men and women born today will be diagnosed with cancer of all sites at some time during their lifetime. This number can also be expressed as 1 in 2 men and women will be diagnosed with cancer of all sites during their lifetime. These statistics are called the lifetime risk of developing cancer. Sometimes it is more useful to look at the probability of developing cancer of all sites between two age groups. For example, 21.16% of men will develop cancer of all sites between their 50th and 70th birthdays compared to 15.56% for women.

When you take in the current estimated US population, (300 million plus), and you factor in the above numbers, the results are alarming. 1 in 2 men and women will be diagnosed with a cancer of all sites (keep in mind that includes the sometimes rather benign skin cancers, too), but the survival rate is only 64.9%, including the more treatable forms. Chances are, if you don't already know a cancer patient, you will very soon...and hopefully it won't be you.

Denial and complacency are deadly, as we all know. Let's get moving on this, people. Let's make our voices heard.

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