The “C” Word


Do you know what cancer is? It is defined as a malignant, invasive growth tumor which usually originates and lives off of animal tissue which covers the surface of organs that perform various secretory, transporting or regulatory functions. Cancer tends to recur after excision and metasizes to other sites. It is also defined as any evil condition that spreads destructively. Cancer is not one disease but rather several different diseases (approximately over 200) and some are preventable but many are not. Please note that preventable is not the same as curable…and preventive maintenance is the best defense: sensible diet low in sugars, fats and red meats while high in fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins; minimal tobacco product usage (actually, NO tobacco product usage is best but we all have vices); minimal alcohol intake; no abusing of drugs prescribed, illegal or over the counter and some form of exercise/movement for at least 20 minutes a day, at least 3 days a week and properly protect yourself from the sun. Yearly physical exams, mammograms, prostate exams, colonoscopies…all help with the prevention and early detection of cancer(s). Of course, some things cannot be helped by preventive measures such as genetics and family history.

I wrestled with so many drafts of this post…it cannot be entertaining…we are talking about cancer. Cancer is life changing, life threatening and can be life ending. It is NOT entertaining. I do not want it to be depressing…..there is hope and treatment and ongoing research to find cures.  So it will be filled with facts and stats…I will try to be as informative as possible without being too dry and detached. I am just hoping that reading this post and researching various websites (a good place to start would be the official website of the American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/) will help people whose lives have been touched by this evil, destructive condition, either directly or indirectly.

  • As stated before, there are over 200 different types of cancer. Cancer can develop from almost any cell or type of cell in your body
  • There are over 60 organs in your body and you can develop cancer in any one of them; also more than one type of cancer can develop in your body
  • The world’s oldest documented case of cancer hails from ancient Egypt, in 1500B.C. The details were recorded on a papyrus, documenting 8 cases of tumors occurring on the breast. It was treated by cauterization
  • The Top 5 most common cancers are ( in order of first to fifth): prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, colon/rectal(combined) and melanoma
  • More women  than men die from lung cancer; lung cancer also has the smallest survival rate of the top 5 common cancers
  • The pink ribbon was adopted as the symbol for Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) in 1992
  • Did you know men also get breast cancer? It’s rare but approximately 2,500 men this year have been diagnosed with breast cancer
  • There are 12,000,000 cancer survivors living in the US

Cancer is not asymptomatic….there are warning signs that include: persistent headaches; unexplained weight loss/loss of appetite; chronic pain in bones and/or other areas of the body; persistent fatigue, nausea and/or vomiting; persistent low grade fever and repeated instances of infection. Sounds a lot like the flu, right? But no need to panic just yet as these  are secondary symptoms…there are 7 more common symptoms/signs of cancer and they go by the acronym of CAUTION:

  • Change in bowel or bladder habits.
  • A sore that does not heal
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge
  • Thickening or lump in the breast, testicles, or elsewhere
  • Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
  • Obvious change in the size, color, shape, or thickness of a wart, mole, or mouth sore.
  • Nagging cough or hoarseness.

Well, here it is….my post on cancer. I know I was supposed to do it on breast cancer in October but why isolate just one form of the disease? Besides, did you know November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Stomach Cancer Awareness Month?  Or that February was National Cancer Awareness Month? People are diagnosed with cancer every day of the year…and every day more and more are surviving and living their lives. Take a few minutes and see what you can do to improve the quality and length of your life; if you can, donate to cancer research and let’s all help each and every one achieve more birthdays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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