Hey JP… just checking in to see if you and Guido are okay. Worried about you both in London. Hugs to you both. You’re in our prayers.
November is Lung, Pancreatic, Stomach and Carcinoid Cancer Awareness Month. The ribbons that are shown represent each individual cancer. Please honor those loved ones who have passed and support those who are continuing their fight. Look to your local communities to find out how you can help in the fight against cancer. Or visit one of the links below to find out more information. Anything, no matter how big or small, can help make a difference.
Last October I began my monthly posts about cancer awareness. When I sat down to write this month’s entry, I decided that for the next year I would do something different. If you want to read about October being Breast and Liver Awareness Month, click on the link here and it will take you to the post from last year. Or you can click on the archives for October 2015 and it will take you there as well. For the next year, I am going to highlight different cancer organizations that are making great strides in research and how you might help if you are interested. Look for those in the middle of the each month.
I have been working in the cancer field for the last five years and during that time, I have observed things that have filled me with hope and others that have made me sad. I decided to share some of them here:
Cancer does not care if you have been a vegetarian, eaten only organic since birth or exercise everyday. I have seen patients that have lived a healthy lifestyle every day of their life and yet when it comes to cancer, they are fighting just as hard as someone less healthy.
Attitude truly seems to make a difference. I have seen patients that have the most positive, happy attitude deal with their treatment in such a way that they inspire others. To them, this is just another hill to climb. And they seem to make it through with a smile and a hug and they just don’t let it bring them down.
I have heard patients say that they threw away their cancer medication that costs upwards of $150,000 because they don’t want to get treatment anymore, while other patients struggle to come up with money to cover their co-payments for their medication. Often deciding against a certain medication because they just can’t afford it.
I’ve heard of patients who ask the doctor for more pain medication, despite being given a 30 day supply just a few days before, because their grown child or grandchildren have stolen their pain medication. I’ve witnessed a 50 year old son scream at a doctor who wouldn’t prescribe more medication for his mother after he had taken hers and either used it himself or sold it. As for the patients, they deny everything because they don’t want to get their family member in trouble.
I’ve seen insurance companies deny treatment because the plan “isn’t a cure for cancer.” Newsflash, there isn’t a cure for cancer. I’ve watched my doctors argue with the insurance doctors to get authorization and it seems that it is just a big game to the companies. I’ve watched U.S. Veterans wait weeks for the Department of Veterans Affairs to approve their tests or treatment.
But I’ve also seen amazing results in patients who come back for their follow-ups and tell us how wonderful they feel or show off their hair after it has grown back. There are those who bring back vacation pictures to share with us after they had told us during their treatment that once done they were taking the trip they always dreamed of.
And there are those patients who truly are an inspiration, who talk to other patients and help them along their journey despite what they are going through themselves. Should I ever get the diagnosis of cancer I hope that I can be as brave as they are.
The month of September places the focus on many different types of cancer. Included are Childhood, Gynecological, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Leukemia, Lymphoma, Ovarian, Thyroid and Prostate cancers.
Childhood Cancer is represented by a gold ribbon. According to CureSearch.org 43 children are diagnosed with cancer every day. Twelve percent of those diagnosed will not survive. Many organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation raise money that goes towards children’s cancer research. New treatment options are being developed thanks to the money raised.
Gynecological cancers is represented by a purple ribbon. Included in gynecological cancers is uterine, endometrial, cervical vulva and vaginal and each individual cancer has their own ribbon as well. To see those, click here. Each year 80,000 women are diagnosed with one of the cancers above and 25,000 will lose their battle.
The orchid ribbon represents Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This type of cancer affects your immune system and is found in the lymph nodes throughout your body. Due to improvements in the treatment options, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma had a high rate of survival
The orange ribbon brings awareness to Leukemia, which is a type of cancer that is often found in the blood and bone marrow. Symptoms may include weight loss, bruising and fatigue. Chemotherapy is one of the main forms of treatment.
Lymphoma is represented by a bright green ribbon. It is a disease that starts in the lymph nodes, especially in the neck and under the arms. It also affect your immune system. The survival rate for people who have had lymphoma for 10 years is 59%. Treatment options include radiation therapy, chemotherapy and in rare cases stem-cell transplants.
Ovarian cancer is one that does not have many symptoms. Instead, women may have pain in their pelvic area. Fewer that 200,000 cases are diagnosed each year. The main treatment for ovarian cancer is surgery and chemotherapy.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among men, but it also has one of the highest success rates and is often considered to be curable. Treatment of prostate cancer is usually done through a combination of surgery and radiation therapy.
For more information on any of the cancers above or if you would like to know how you can show your support, click on the links below:
The month of July brings awareness to Sarcoma Cancer. Do you know where that type of cancer develops? Most people have heard of sarcoma, but have no idea what type of cancer it is. Sarcoma is a cancer that is usually found in tissue, such as muscle, fat, hands and bones. Unusual swelling or soreness in one of these areas can be one of the symptoms of sarcoma. To learn more about sarcoma, click on the links below: