Reporting on health and quality of life in South LA

World Cancer Day aims to 'dispel myths' about the disease

iv, chemo

Phil and Pam Gradwell/Flickr Creative Commons

A patient undergoes part of a chemotherapy treatment. For World Cancer Day 2013, the Union for International Cancer Control is focusing on four myths in particular, including the idea that cancer is a death sentence.

It's World Cancer Day, and this year organizers are focused on dispelling four myths about the disease:

1. It's just a health issue.

2. It's a disease that primarily affects the wealthy, elderly and residents of developed countries.

3. It's a death sentence.

4. It's "fate."

In a statement on Monday, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the event's main organizer, said 1.5 million lives could be saved annually if health experts, researchers and advocates aggressively push for achievement of the World Health Organization's "25 by 25" goal: to reduce early deaths caused by non-communicable diseases by 25 percent by the year 2025.

Right now, cancer claims about 7.6 million lives worldwide every year; 4 million of those people die between the ages of 30 and 69. The latest data from Los Angeles County's Department of Public Health says in the county, there are about 35 lung cancer deaths, 21 breast cancer deaths, 3 cervical cancer deaths and 15 colorectal cancer deaths for every 100,000 people.