Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

Cancer – Not Beyond Us: World Cancer Day is February 4th 2015

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4th February is World Cancer Day.

Taking place under the tagline Cancer – Not beyond us, World Cancer Day 2015 will take a positive and proactive approach to the fight against cancer, highlighting that solutions do exist across the continuum of cancer care, and that they are within our reach. The campaign will explore how we can implement what we already know in the areas of prevention, early detection, treatment and care, and in turn, open up to the exciting prospect that we can impact the global cancer burden – for the better. By moving forward together we have the potential to prove: Cancer. It is not beyond us.

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This year’s campaign focuses on 4 key areas:

  • Choosing Healthy Lives: Reducing the social and environmental risk factors for cancer and empowering people to make healthy choices, are key components to achieving the global overarching goal of reducing premature deaths from cancer by 25% by 2025 and reaching the aspirational targets of the World Cancer Declaration.
  • Delivering Early Detection: Ensuring the availability of, and access to, early detection programmes for cancer can significantly reduce the cancer burden in all countries.
  • Achieving Treatment For All: All people have the right to access quality, effective cancer treatment and services on equal terms, regardless of geography and without suffering economic hardship as a consequence.
  • Maximising Quality Of Life: Understanding and responding to the full impact of cancer on emotional, mental and physical wellbeing will maximise the quality of life for patients, their families and carers.

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Those of us involved with the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy programme are especially focused on these last two areas.

Achieving Treatment For All: We’re working to ensure equal access to treatment options and for the right of the older person affected by cancer to choose what’s best for them from an informed position.

Maximising Quality Of Life: the campaign calls for the empowerment of individuals to maximise their quality of life. Amongst a number of challenges the campaign cites the following –  Cancer can have a serious impact on a person’s emotional, physical and mental states and cancer survivors are at risk of diminished quality of life up to several years after diagnosis;  The psychological toll of caring for a person living with cancer can also be enormous, with many carers experiencing distress and declines in their physical and mental health; Cancer pain experienced as a result of inadequate access to pain medicines has vast implications for the quality of life of cancer patients and is often linked to psychological distress, including higher levels of depression, anxiety, and fear.

The advocacy support we provide helps combat these issues and it’s why our peer advocates train to support others like themselves who are affected by cancer.

Support World Cancer Day in whatever way you can. You can find more information on the website which can be accessed here

Marie McWilliams, OPAAL

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Author: Marie McWilliams

OPAAL's National Development Officer

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