Open skies, fresh air, and cool, clean water. Rural residents often enjoy the best there is in nature and in life. But why is it that victims of cancer in rural areas are diagnosed with more developed stages of cancer than those in urban areas?
The truth is, cancer may not be more prevalent among those who live in rural and remote areas. In fact, research shows that the problem in diagnoses may not reside in the actual health of rural residents at all, but in the quality and quantity of health care information.
Pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and mesothelioma symptoms may develop just as quickly among urban and rural victims, but the latter may have limited access to frequent doctor visits. That and inadequate information lead to fewer chances for proper and speedy diagnoses.
What can be done?
1. Most important is prevention. This means that the right information gets to the right people before they even have cancer. If we share what we know about cancer, we can help others live lifestyles that may prevent cancer. The spread of information may be slower in remote areas, and thus information sharing may take more effort.
2. Next, it’s important for those in remote areas not only to have information, but to know how to find out more, especially if cancer may be a possibility for them. Those suspicious of possible cancer symptoms should ask a doctor about X-Rays, CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans. The technology and methods used by doctors are designed to screen for cancer. It’s important that potential victims inquire about them.
3. Avoiding or ignoring treatment options offered by a doctor may be detrimental to cancer patients. However, in rural and remote areas, hospital visits can be far and few in between. It may be beneficial for patients to speak with their physicians about the more holistic approaches to cancer prevention and treatment. Along with a doctor's help, exercise, a healthy diet, and a clean environment can help prevent or lessen the destruction of certain cancers.
Remember, information sharing can save lives. Those in cities and those in rural communities can both benefit from the knowledge and research of others. Knowledge is more than power; it’s a responsibility. It’s up to a ll of us to spread cancer awareness.
- Eric Stevenson. For questions about this article please feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.