Speaking on behalf or in support of a cause is the simple definition of advocacy. Cancer advocates are people who are speaking on behalf of cancer patients, raising awareness on cancer and its related issues. They also effectively influence research development, public policy, legislative and governmental issues concerning cancer. They identify problems or harmful situations affecting cancer patients directly or indirectly and they proffer possible ways to solve this problem.
How to become a cancer advocate
There are various ways to use your voice in cancer advocacy
Cancer advocates play an invaluable role in creating and increasing awareness about cancer. They debunk common cultural myths and stigmas associated with a cancer diagnosis and its treatment. They also emphasize the importance of screening and early diagnosis. This can be done by speaking to communities, the use of social media, and mass media campaigns to educate the general public about cancer. Educating one person goes a long way.
It is very important that in educating the public, false information is not circulated. Adequate research should be done which can involve speaking to experts to gain a better understanding of the topic. You need to know what you are advocating for.
Cancer survivors and their caregivers can be a form of a support system for people living with cancer. Using their personal stories, sharing from their wealth of experience and listening to them can be a huge form of support to people living with cancer. This can be done individually or by organizing and participating in support groups. Support groups can create an empowering atmosphere that the participants may also become inspired enough to engage in advocacy. The most important thing is showing them you care and maintaining confidentiality.
Cancer is a very expensive disease. Cancer treatment and research require a large amount of money which is usually not available in resource poor settings. Cancer advocates can raise funds through various activities such as crowd funding campaigns, yard sales, sporting events, concerts. The money raised will go a long way in supporting cancer patients and cancer research.
Cancer advocates also play a role in influencing public health policies in their environment on cancer and its related issues. Advocacy in policy making can also be done by enlightening the public about cancer control policies and by sharing the issues with cancer related policies with those (legislators) who have the capacity to make a systemic policy change.
Skill Required in a Cancer Advocate
The misconception that surrounds advocacy includes that it is time-consuming, highly political among other things. Though cancer advocacy involves all these things, it is not exclusive to it. In cancer advocacy, you are using your voice to improve the lives of cancer patients directly and indirectly. It can be as simple as tweeting facts about different types of cancers, volunteering with a cancer foundation, donating to cancer centred organization. Using your voice to improve the lives of cancer patients in whatever form is the aim of cancer advocacy. Anyone can do it!
Still, got questions or need further clarification on how to become a cancer advocate? Drop a comment in the comment box or chat with us directly. We would love to hear from you.
I have got one question for you: Are you willing to lend your voice and become a cancer advocate?. Until the next time.
Loads of Love