April is a doozy of a month when it comes to awareness and special focus weeks and days.
This month alone is recognized as an awareness month for testicular, esophageal, and head & neck cancers. It’s also National Cancer Control Month, which, we’ll admit, snuck up on us. The first week is National Public Health Week (April 3-9), which also features National Walk to Work Day and World Health Day (both on April 7). The second week, April 9-15, is National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, part of the greater National Minority Health Month. And NCC is closing out the month with Environmental Education Week (April 23-27) to highlight the environmental causes of cancer and how we can protect ourselves.
Whew, that’s a lot.
How do we cover it all? The truth is, we can’t always cover it all with the attention these topics deserve. Cancer is a massive and complex group of diseases, starting with prevention and early detection and ending with how we can live a quality life after cancer. There’s treatment, palliative care, clinical trials – all the stuff in the middle -- that's even more complex.
And there are more than 200 types of cancer. There are so many types of cancer that when it comes to awareness ribbons some have such similar colors we can barely tell the difference. (Is that periwinkle or orchid?) There are some ribbon colors that represent more than one cancer, and some have patterns like zebra stripe or paisley. Yes, paisley.
It’s overwhelming, that’s for sure.
And while awareness ribbons have become symbols for certain diseases, we think learning about prevention, early detection, and quality of life and increasing access to quality cancer treatment, is more important than memorizing ribbon colors. At NCC we’d like to be a source of information for Nevadans, through education and access to resources, regardless of ribbon color.
We may miss a certain awareness month/week/day or not get a chance to take a deep dive on a particular cancer during the appropriate month. It’s not personal. We may choose to focus a blog on one cancer this April and another cancer next April. Sometimes we’ll highlight a cancer that falls within our current program work. For example, later this month we’ll take a look at head and neck cancers which are increasing in numbers but can be prevented by, among other things, HPV vaccination and not using tobacco. Our work includes both HPV vaccination and tobacco prevention.
For more information on what’s happening with awareness months, weeks, and days be sure to check out our social networks on Facebook and Twitter as well. There you’ll find great facts and links to resources on a more regular basis. High five to that!
And speaking of high fives, April 20 is High Five Day.