She’s an American, a mother and she’s 60 years old.
She’s also a cancer survivor, Elizabeth Edwards told a group of people here Thursday.
And by sharing her story, she may be helping to reduce the rate of cancer, she said.
“This is what going public is about,” she said.
Go Public, the first global rally for cancer control, was held at Major’s Hill Park.
Leaders, patients, health care providers, advocates and volunteers representing 21 countries around the world gathered to promote the Global Community Conversation about Cancer, the world’s largest focus group that engages ordinary citizens from around the world to share concerns and opinions on fighting cancer.
When Edwards was diagnosed in 2004, she “went public.” She shared her story, telling people to get screened, and in return, she received dozens of letters of support.
“We want to see more public engagement,” said Go Public co-chair Cristina Parsons Perez.
Right now, one in three people will have a direct experience with cancer, Edwards said. Within the next generation, that number will rise to one in two.
And while doctors can ensure that treatments are effective and governments can fund research, ultimately, people have control, she said.
“Forty per cent of all cancers can be avoided if we take control for ourselves,” she said.
People can also share information to remind each other to get screened, eat healthily, wear sunscreen and avoid smoking, she said.