Yes, I am still here!
Each week, I get a notice regarding how many have visited my blog over the previous week. I am completely amazed at the numbers. I know that for the most part, those that are reading it now are those that have just been diagnosed or have a loved one that has been. I hope for those, that my blog will provide the information they are seeking. I worry. For them. Cancer is a horrible alteration to a person's life. I now know some will get through it, some will not.
I cry way too easily. I am very touched by those that are affected. I know too much first hand. So does my family. For those of you just entering the world of cancer, my heart goes out to you.
It is again October, the month officially designated "Breast Cancer Awareness Month". In view of this, I am about to bring forth a posting I did last year at this time. I still feel very strongly about my views and therefore, for those that may not have read this posting before, I hereby present it again:
October brings us Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Over the years, I have been aware of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but only on a very light scale. Through the Breast Cancer Awareness program though, I did learn some time ago how to correctly do a self breast exam at home. Without that resource and knowledge, there is a good chance I would never have found the first lump of three in my left breast. The other two lumps were not even seen on the mammogram that followed after I found the first lump, but they where there, the second one was found when the lumpendectomy was done and the third was found against my breast wall when the mastectomy was done. If I had not found that first lump myself, in the relatively timely fashion that I did, I can only speculate what the outcome would have been. I have also been informed by two of my doctors that more women find their own lumps by doing the self exam than any other method of testing that is done. So it is obvious the education put forth by Breast Cancer Awareness month has been successful.
In the process of learning about breast cancer, I have also been learning about other cancers and paying closer attention to them. In doing so, I have found some issues that I feel need to be addressed. There are over 200 different types of cancers, yet there are only a few that you hear about in the media with publicity to increase awareness, early detection, donations and funding. Breast Cancer seems to be the leader and Prostate Cancer is starting to pick up speed. There is a smattering of awareness programs for Ovarian Cancer, Colon Cancer and Leukemia, but from there it seems to drop off, with others only being mentioned on occasion. For many types of cancers, the only time you will hear about them or they take front stage for a time, is when a celebrity announces they have a cancer of one type or another. And then often, even that fades into the background.
To give you an idea of the different types of cancers, I have provided a list of some of them. This is not a complete list, but it is does start to give you an idea of how many types there are and their names. If you are like most people, I am sure there are names on here that you have never heard of. Further information on many of these cancers can be found at Oncolink
Brain Tumors (Childhood)
Carcinoma of Unknown Primary
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
Colon Cancer Ovarian Cancer
Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma/Mycosis Fungoides
Endometrial and Uterine Cancer
Fallopian Tube Cancer
Gestational Trophoblastic Disease and Choriocarcinoma
Hairy Cell Leukemia
Head and Neck Cancer
Leukemia-- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)
Leukemia-- Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)
Liver Cancer (Childhood)
Liver Cancer (Hepatoma)
Lymphomas: Hodgkin's Lymphoma (Childhood)
Lymphomas: Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (Childhood)
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Rhabdomyosarcoma and Other Soft-Tissue Sarcomas
Small Intestine Cancers
Small-Cell Lung Cancer
Each type of cancer has its own set of symptoms. How many can you name along with their symptoms? Symptoms for some of these cancers are as follows. The following information was obtained from: The Cancer Cure Foundation - Symptoms
Bladder cancer: Blood in the urine, pain or burning upon urination; frequent urination; or cloudy urine
Bone cancer: Pain in the bone or swelling around the affected site; fractures in bones; weakness, fatigue; weight loss; repeated infections; nausea, vomiting, constipation, problems with urination; weakness or numbness in the legs; bumps and bruises that persist
Brain cancer: Dizziness; drowsiness; abnormal eye movements or changes in vision; weakness, loss of feeling in arms or legs or difficulties in walking; fits or convulsions; changes in personality, memory or speech; headaches that tend to be worse in the morning and ease during the day, that may be accompanied by nausea or vomiting
Breast cancer: A lump or thickening of the breast; discharge from the nipple; change in the skin of the breast; a feeling of heat; or enlarged lymph nodes under the arm
Colon/Colorectal cancer: Rectal bleeding (red blood in stools or black stools); abdominal cramps; constipation alternating with diarrhea; weight loss; loss of appetite; weakness; pallid complexion
Kidney cancer: Blood in urine; dull ache or pain in the back or side; lump in kidney area, sometimes accompanied by high blood pressure or abnormality in red blood cell count
Leukemia: Weakness, paleness; fever and flu-like symptoms; bruising and prolonged bleeding; enlarged lymph nodes, spleen, liver; pain in bones and joints; frequent infections; weight loss; night sweats
Lung cancer: Wheezing, persistent cough for months; blood-streaked sputum; persistent ache in chest; congestion in lungs; enlarged lymph nodes in the neck
Melanoma: Change in mole or other bump on the skin, including bleeding or change in size, shape, color, or texture
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: Painless swelling in the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, or groin; persistent fever; feeling of fatigue; unexplained weight loss; itchy skin and rashes; small lumps in skin; bone pain; swelling in the abdomen; liver or spleen enlargement
Oral cancer: A lump in the mouth, ulceration of the lip, tongue or inside of the mouth that does not heal within a couple of weeks; dentures that no longer fit well; oral pain, bleeding, foul breath, loose teeth, and changes in speech
Ovarian cancer: Abdominal swelling; in rare cases, abnormal vaginal bleeding; digestive discomfort
Pancreatic cancer: Upper abdominal pain and unexplained weight loss; pain near the center of the back; intolerance of fatty foods; yellowing of the skin; abdominal masses; enlargement of liver and spleen
Prostate cancer: Urination difficulties due to blockage of the urethra; bladder retains urine, creating frequent feelings of urgency to urinate, especially at night; bladder not emptying completely; burning or painful urination; bloody urine; tenderness over the bladder; and dull ache in the pelvis or back
Stomach cancer: Indigestion or heartburn; discomfort or pain in the abdomen; nausea and vomiting; diarrhea or constipation; bloating after meals; loss of appetite; weakness and fatigue; bleeding - vomiting blood or blood in the stool
Uterine cancer: Abnormal vaginal bleeding, a watery bloody discharge in postmenopausal women; a painful urination; pain during intercourse; pain in pelvic area
There are many advanced tests available for early detection. Please check the out the following website for information on tests as well.
The Cancer Cure Foundation
I recently came across a blog of a woman who goes by Elnser.
She has Ovarian Cancer. Her post, titled “I Think I Got the Wrong Cancer (a vent/opinion)” has further insight into how it feels to have a type of cancer that doesn’t get the fan-fair that another cancer does. I agree with her thoughts. It is a very isolating feeling to have a cancer that doesn’t seem to be as important to the world as another type of cancer.
In as much as I am very grateful that Breast Cancer is being addressed so heavily at a time when I have it, I feel it is important for equal attention to be given to all cancers. Yes, of course, I feel my life and my becoming a survivor is important, but the saving of my life should not take precedence over also saving the life of someone with Ovarian Cancer or Brain Cancer or any Cancer for that matter. Cancer is cancer. Awareness, early detection information, equal funding for research and cures of all cancers needs to be made and put in the public eye for all to become informed.
So here is my tribute and promotion to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But let us consider a new agenda. An agenda for an overall ongoing Cancer Awareness program that brings forth information, early detection knowledge, funding, donations, and fund raising events for ALL cancers on a regular basis. Every one, no matter what type of cancer, what their age, or their status in life, rich or poor, well known or not, should be entitled to have the same chance to live and become survivors of this horrid disease called Cancer.