Monday, August 2, 2010

"C" is for Cancer

Most of us have had Cancer touch our lives.  If you haven't, consider yourself very lucky.  It has already hit my life hard, and taken people I love away from me, and I am sure it will strike again.

Cancer can be a sneaky and insidious disease, that can just lightly brush up against you by knowing a friend of a friend that has it, or it can smash you in the face, when you, a family member or a close friend are it's victim.

One of the worst parts about Cancer is that in most cases you don't even know that it's there.  It hides in the body among your organs, and in the blood stream biding it's time, like a sharp-shooter awaiting it's target to attack, and then when you are in it's cross hairs, BANG, it rears it's ugly head.

The types of Cancers are many, and the way the disease effects someone is as different as there are people on the planet.  Both my brother and I have had cancerous moles removed (melanomas).   It was a very easy procedure, and I was sent home armed with information how to help prevent it from occurring again.  I was told to use a higher than 15 SPF sunscreen, and was taught how to check my moles myself at home for earlier detection from then on.
It's as easy as:
A) Area- If they are too big, anything bigger than the size of a pencil eraser, get them checked out by your family doctor or dermatologist
B) Border- If the border is jagged or scalloped, get them checked out by a doctor also, and
C) Colour- If they are not one shade of brown, but have spots of lighter or darker colours on them, they too need to be checked out.

My Grandmother passed away from Pancreatic Cancer.  My Grandfather, her husband, and his son my Uncle, both died from Pancreatic Cancer also, before they both were 40 years old.  My Brother always assumed that he would follow suit, but fortunately he is very healthy and gets screened often.  I have lost three Aunts, two from Bone Cancer and one from Brain Cancer that spread to her Liver, she fought hard and lived five years longer than her specialists thought and told her she would.  She took me with her to buy her wigs.  We had so much fun trying on the most outrageous wigs, like pink ones, or ones that were made to make you look like Marilyn Monroe, or other celebrities.  We had such a blast and laughed so hard we cried.  Those are some of my favorite memories.  My Step-Father and his son, my Step-Brother are both Prostate Cancer Survivors.   A dear member of my Twitter family just recently had a bone marrow transplant to treat her Bone Cancer and to give her the best chance to beat it.  With God's help and all of the prayers said for her, I know she will.  Having Crohn's Disease leaves me with a higher probability of developing Stomach, Colon, or Anal Cancers, therefore I am screened on a regular basis.

In some ways Cancer is comparable to addiction, or other diseases as it does not only effect the patient,  it is a family disease.  Everyone should be there for each other, and to help and support one another.

The causes of Cancers are still being hotly debated.  There are some things that Doctors and Specialists say each one of us can do to lower the risks of developing Cancers, but there is no guarantee that any, or all of these things will work.  Even the healthiest people can develop it, and some Cancers feed off of estrogen, a naturally occuring hormone, in their host's bodies.
But you can:
  • Have regular tests such as Colonoscopys, Pap Smears, Mammograms and self-breast exams, Prostate exams etc. so that if you have a Cancer, at least it will be caught fast and treated before it becomes deadly.
  • Stop using tobacco products, and cut back on alcohol
  • Avoid the harmful rays of the sun by using a high UV Sunscreen
  • Exercise regularly (Dr. Oz suggests that we each walk 10, 000 steps a day)
  • Change your diet to eating whole grains, less fat and more fruits and vegetables.
  • Practice safe sex and get vaccinated for HPV
  • And include all of the proper vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to your routine.

If you are asking yourself how you can help, there are many ways.  You can:
  • Give generously to The Cancer Foundation in your area, the monies received go to research not only to find cures, but to discover causes of the different kinds of Cancers
  • Take part in walks or runs, like the Terry Fox run to raise money
  • Spread Awareness by purchasing or selling merchandise and use/wear it proudly
  • Educate yourself by reading about and researching the topic
  • Take part in programs in your area like "Meals on Wheels" or others that help patients that need it, whether it be driving them to and from their appointments, doing yard work, cleaning house or watching their children after school
  • Be a true friend, be there any way you can be to a friend or family member with Cancer.  Sometimes just knowing a patient has someone there they can count on makes all the difference in the world.
Get creative, and figure out what you can do to help the cause and become part of the solution.  This post was written in loving memory of those that have been taken from us, those that are fighting the good and brave fight right now, and those survivors that give them all hope.  God Bless you all.  ♥

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