World Cancer Day 2011

Vampires don’t get cancer. Neither do Fae or ghosts. Everyone else – shifters, Weres, witches, humans, hybrids and yes, role players – can. That’s why it is so important to understand the risk factors for this devastating disease, how science is helping combat it and what you can do to reduce your risk, not just today, but every day.

“World Cancer Day is important because it gives us an opportunity to raise awareness,” explains three-time cancer survivor, Doug Ulman, CEO of Lance Armstrong Foundation. “If we don’t act as a global community, cancer rates will continue to increase and more and more people will suffer and die needlessly.”

New independent evidence confirms that the trend towards unhealthy and sedentary lifestyles (sound familiar role players, gamers and others spending hours at the compter?) is putting millions at risk of cancer. Millions. And they don’t have to be put at risk. A few lifestyle changes, like eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active on a regular basis can reduce the risk of commons cancers by up to a third, according to research released today by the the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

Findings from the World Health Organization (WHO)‘s Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health reinforces that regular exercise potentially prevents many diseases including breast and colon cancers as well as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Other healthy living initiatives, like not using tobacco, avoiding exposure to passive smoke or cancer causing infections and limiting sun exposure are also vital in reducing the risk of cancer.

“Physical activity is recommended for people of all ages as a means to reduce risks for certain types of cancers and other non-communicable diseases,” says Dr. Tim Armstrong, from the WHO’s Department of Chronic Diseases and Health promotion. “In order to improve their health and prevent several diseases, adults should do at least 150 minutes moderate physical activity throughout the week. This can be achieved by simply walking 30 minutes five times per week or by cycling to work daily.”

There are approximately 200 known types of cancer. Although many factors contribute to any individuals risk for developing cancer or response to treatment for cancer, certain avoidable lifestyle and environmental factors do play a role. In fact, research indicates that between 30 and 40 percent of all cancer deaths can be prevented. One-third of cancer cases can be cured through early diagnosis and treatment.

Cancer is a leading cause of death around the world. More than 12.5 million people globally discover they have cancer each year. According to, “Cancer takes one person every minute. One life in a moment.”

If you don’t think cancer affects you, think again. Role players may exist in their own worlds but at least three role players passed away during the last year from cancer. Another half-dozen or more have come to role play as a means of coping with their own cancer diagnosis or that of an immediate family member. Some, including this reporter, have lost family members to cancer. These aren’t strangers. They are our brothers, sisters, parents, children, spouses and friends. So please, do what you need to do to stay healthy and help create a cancer free world.

“Support World Cancer Day by signing the World Cancer Declaration and help us achieve the goal of one million supporters for a Cancer Free World,” says Dr. Eduardo Cazap, President of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). “With individuals, governments and policy makers of the world working together, we have the ability to ease the global burden of cancer now and for future generations.”