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More than just numbers: a salute to cancer warriors

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Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2019. 11:40 am CST.

By BBN Staff: On February 4, countries all over the world will take a moment to pay tribute to cancer warriors with the annual observation of World Cancer Day. To really appreciate the event one must first understand the focus of it.

Unlike defining someone as a genius because they know a lot, or wise because they have a good understanding, defining someone as a warrior is different because it’s based upon the battle that they have to fight. When referring to a cancer warrior, one refers to someone battling an opponent that seeks to claim their health, their peace, and their very lives. Cancer is an opponent that does not care who you are or what you do or what is going on in your life at the time. Whether you’re a street side vendor, the wife of a country’s Prime Minister, just got married or had a child, when cancer wants to pick a fight with you, it’s game on. Not even babies, still in their mother’s arms are exempt when cancer comes to pick a fight.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is an opponent that has defeated some 9.6 million warriors in 2018 alone, giving it one of the highest winning streaks out of any other opponent on one’s health. The WHO notes that cancer accounts for 1 in every 6 deaths globally and that 70 percent of those deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.

This is the fight that cancer warriors face on a daily basis and Belize is not exempt from this struggle. According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), there were 872 newly diagnosed cancer warriors between 2010 and 2017; an average of 109 new warriors joining the fight every year. Belize has also lost a total of 1,414 of its warriors to cancer within the same period.

Cervical cancer was, on average, the number one diagnosis for new women cancer warriors, and prostate cancer for the man. The second most diagnoses across both sexes were “Neoplasms of unspecified nature or uncertain behavior,” which means that cancer behaved differently from other cancers that are found in whatever region of the body it was discovered.

As warriors join the fight or fall in battle, they become the numbers that inform these WHO and MOH reports, but to their loved ones they are more than numbers. To those that support cancer warriors, each of those numbers, whether actively in combat or gone to rest, represent a mother, father, sister, brother, cousin or closest friend.

Breaking Belize News takes this time to honor all cancer warriors and encourages Belizeans to do the same. While the international day is not until February 4, each day a cancer warrior spends fighting is one where they can use the support.

If you have a cancer warrior you are cheering on, drop their name in the comments to let them know you support them. If you ‘ve lost a warrior to the fight, drop their name to show that they are gone but never forgotten. Let’s take this opportunity to support our cancer warriors and the people fighting for them and alongside them.

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