This week the Irish Cancer Society are hosting a special series of events and an awareness campaign called ‘Cancer Week’ in conjunction with Trinity College Dublin. It runs from 17th October to 23rd October.
The aim of Cancer Week is to increase awareness of the disease among Irish people, while focusing on the rates of survival, increased research into prevention and cure, and building a community of people around those suffering from cancer.
We spoke to the Irish Cancer Society and asked about this year’s event. The idea for Cancer Week began over three years ago, as the society’s team behind the yearly cancer conferences in Trinity realised that they should put together a nation-wide week of discussion for everyone to get involved in.
According to the Irish Cancer Society, the theme for 2016 is ‘New Frontiers in Personalised Cancer Care’.
“Although that’s the main focus of the international speakers who have come to Dublin this year to participate in the conferences” explains Aisling from the Irish Cancer Society, “it’s not the sole focus of Cancer Week. People who host their own events can have any theme. Those attending the conferences will be focusing on new ways to treat cancer, like different therapies and surgeries.”
People across the country are free to host their own events in their communities, and the possibilities are endless. The society hopes that all kinds of people will get involved from all corners of the community.
“It’s not too late to organise an event either; I’ve been updating the site today (Monday 17 October) with new events so people can of course send in their hosting details and I’ll publish them for you,” adds Aisling.
“We want to get the media and other institutions talking about cancer and how it affects us; we want people to be aware. We hope for Cancer Week to be even bigger and better next year too.”
Be Hopeful for Survival
It’s thought that one in every three Irish people will be affected by cancer at some point in their life, but the CancerWeek.ie website wants people to know that as diagnosis rates increase, so do survival rates.
Farmers in particular can be at a high risk of developing cancer. Exposure to the sun and chemicals (like pesticides) are all factors that increase your risk of developing cancer. It’s important to keep yourself safe for this reason; never ever ignore the warnings on your chemicals’ instructions and always use sunscreen. Skin cancer can develop even when exposed to the elusive Irish sunshine.
Make sure your diet is nutritionally balanced, and limit your alcohol intake. If you smoke, please reconsider the habit, as smoking causes a staggering 30% of all cancers according to cancer.ie. Keep physically active but stay safe on your farm at all times; prioritise looking after yourself before looking after your animals and crops. Keep in mind that radiation could be a danger on your farm.
According to the Pesticide Action Network of North America, farmers and pesticide applicators have higher rates of prostate cancer, women who work with pesticides suffer more often from ovarian cancer, and cropduster pilots and farm women have higher rates of skin cancer.
Working out on a farm is well-known as being a hazardous occupation, but don’t forget that your long-term health can be affected by more than just physical farm accidents. Your organs can be damaged from carcinogenic materials and the sun’s UV rays, so take care.
Perhaps an event in association with Cancer Week would be a help to you and your community; get involved and organise something in your rural community if you can. Check out www.cancerweek.ie/register to sign up as a host, or click here to find out what events you can attend.
If you or someone you know has been affected by the disease, please don’t suffer alone. There’s a list of every local counselling helpline available here, or you can call the Irish Cancer Society’s ‘Cancer Nurseline’ for free on 1800 200 700.