Wednesday, February 4, 2010 is World Cancer Day. Led by the UICC (International Union Against Cancer), today is the day to raise awareness of the big C, and encourage prevention, detection and treatment.
The campaign started in 2005, and each year focuses on a different issue. This year, the theme is learn about vaccines against viruses that cause cancer. There are 2 FDA approved vaccines that can help prevent cancer: the HPV vaccine, which fights the human papillomavirus (the cause of most cervical cancers), and your hepatitis B shot, which prevents the virus that can cause liver cancer.
You may have seen the commercials for the HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix. Although it features women because that's who the virus attacks predominantly, in October of 2009, the FDA approved the shot for men and boys. I personally received Gardasil, which comes in a 3-dose injection. Although it's slightly more painful than your usual shot, it is worth it!
The HBV (hepatitis B virus) shot is usually required of college students moving into dorms and housing, as well as health-care and laboratory staff.
Other vaccines are available to help prevent cancer coming into your life. Other healthy lifestyle choices, including a balanced diet, physical fitness, and regular doctor visits, can dramatically decrease your chances of having to deal with the woes of cancer.