It’s World Cancer Day: Here’s What You Need to Know

Today is World Cancer Day – a day when the global population unites in the fight against cancer with a goal to save millions of lives each year by raising awareness and education about the disease.

Of course, many of us already think about cancer and its ramifications on a daily basis, anyway. After all, by this point in our lives cancer has affected most of us in one way or another.

As a result, a large number of millennials are proactive in fighting back against the disease through things like charity runs or bike rides, donating directly to cancer-related organizations, and both attending and sitting on the board of charity events.

While cancer has touched many of our grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles, most of us active and seemingly healthy millennials don’t imagine it touching us directly.

And odds are you won’t get struck with cancer before the age of 30. But you could. Here’s what you should know…

– When it comes to young people one of the major challenges is getting a timely diagnosis, as the belief persists that it can’t touch us. At the same time, young adults are alarmingly often overlooked when it comes to cancer research. Just try a Google search of ‘Canadian young adults cancer’ – you won’t find much information.

– In Canada, the 15-29 age groups accounts for 1.5 per cent of new cancer cases and less than 1 per cent of cancer-related deaths in Canada.

– Between 2005-2009, the most common cancers in young adults aged 15 to 29 were thyroid cancer, testicular cancer, lymphomas, and melanoma. Adults aged 30+ experienced mostly prostate, breast, lung, and colorectal cancers.

– Cancer is still the leading cause of premature death in young adults and breast cancer is still the second leading cause of death in females under the age of 50.

– Experts at the Canadian Cancer Society say that skin cancer rates are on the rise with young people because many Canadians are (still) not wearing sunscreen. It’s not uncommon to see people with melanoma in their 30s.

– There’s an 85 per cent survival rate for those diagnosed with cancer between the ages of 15-29.

– Young Adult Cancer Canada aims to connect peers and get cancer fighters out of isolation. They do so via online resources and physical events.

– Fellow young Canadians like Renee Kaiman have candidly documented their journey with cancer, offering a sense of support to fellow young cancer fighters. Furthermore, reThink Breast Cancer’s Cancer Fabulous Diaries aims to speak to women under 40 who have been diagnosed with the disease, offering raw, candid stories of other breast cancer survivors.