Tuesday, July 13, 2010

today's children, tomorrow's world

Many people around the world believe that cancer is fate - just something that happens to them if they are unlucky. They believe that they have no control over their chances of developing a cancer.
In fact, more than one-third of all cancer cases worldwide - almost four million cases each year - can be prevented if we act on what we already know and apply that knowledge in our daily behaviour.

Simple changes in lifestyle can reduce the risk of cancer.
Tobacco use, diet, nutrition and exercise, and sun safety all play a role in influencing cancer risk. It is also possible to vaccinate children or young people against common viruses that cause specific cancers (liver and cervix).
The aim of the "Today's children, tomorrow's world" campaign is to scale up awareness of what we can do to prevent cancer and to change people's behaviour in that light.

Healthy habits established early in life have a significant impact in later years. Behaviour is already formed before adolescence. The environment in which children grow up - at home, in school, and in the community - powerfully influences their behaviour later on, whether this regards tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke, diet and physical activity, or smart behaviour in the sun. Policymakers' decisions about cancer vaccination at an early age determine how far children and young people will be protected against cancers of the liver or cervix.

For all these reasons, the "Today's children, tomorrow's world" campaign will focus on the young.

Parents have a key role in influencing healthy habits in their children. We need to help parents to understand the long-terms benefits of a healthy lifestyle and to engage them as partners in cancer prevention activities that start early in life.

From a prevention perspective, there is strong justification for focusing the campaign on what can be done to tackle four main cancer-causing factors: (1) avoid tobacco and second-hand smoke, (2) avoid obesity, be physically active, and adopt healthy diets, (3) learn the facts about viruses, infections and new vaccinations, and (4) be smart in the sun. [1]
The campaign message globally consists of four key precepts:
  1. provide a smokefree environment for children ("no smoking in homes")
  2. encourage an energy-balanced lifestyle (regular physical activity and low-fat diet, avoid obesity)
  3. learn the facts about vaccinations (HBV & HPV)
  4. teach your children to be sun-smart
In the course of this campaign, UICC, its member organizations and its partners throughout the world will engage in awareness-building, information-sharing, educational activities and community mobilization.
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[1] UICC/WHO(2005). Global Action Against Cancer NOW - Geneva: UICC and WHO Publications Department

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