4 Reasons Why We Should Be Talking About Cancer

4 Reasons Why We Should Be Talking About Cancer

 

4th February 2021 is World Cancer Day

Man - whose life hasn't been affected by cancer? Or at the very least, we know someone who has been affected by cancer.

Cancer SUCKS. Yes it does. It's unfair, it happens, and it's the scary C word that freaks people out.

I'm a breast cancer survivor of 5 years. Back in 2015, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. The treatment was a bilateral mastectomy (with immediate reconstruction) followed by chemo. 

Trouble is, my reconstruction was a big dismal failure. Both sides were infected, which led me to make the decision to just take them out, and forever be flat as a pancake. I even decided to shun my prosthetics and instead, embrace being Bra Free! 

I've tried to always promote breast cancer awareness.

But I feel like a little ant, trying to shout as loud as I can within a room full of giants. I don't think I make any difference. I'm not sure I've ever saved a life by having someone get their breasts checked.

I tried to raise money for breast cancer, but they weren't resounding success stories.

So why the heck bother? Why write a blog about World Cancer Day when chances are no one will even read it?

No one will care about what I write, because (yawn) isn't cancer just so "common" these days? How to compete against Covid!

But - I can't stop.

I just can't stop trying to get heads out of the sand. People need to be aware, they need to take action, and they need to get checked out. If something doesn't feel right - get it checked.

Because my mother didn't get her breasts checked, until it was too late.

In 1980 my 38 year old mother died of breast cancer. She didn't get herself checked until it was far too late. 

Her sister also developed breast cancer - twice. But my aunt survived it, perhaps because she lived in Sydney while my mother lived in Malaysia. Perhaps, in 1980, medical care was just that much better in Australia.

Perhaps, being aware was what made the difference.

So here are my 4 reasons why everyone should care about World Cancer Day

And why we should take a moment to educate ourselves and talk about it. Here's why (statistics from World Cancer Day organisation): 

  1. 10 million people die of cancer EVERY YEAR.
    That's the population of Singapore twice over! 
  2. Cancer is the second leading cause of death Worldwide. 
    With Heart disease still leading this table. But cancer just seems scarier because we've seen the ones we loved visibly shrinking, being eaten away from the inside. And it's heart breaking. 

  3. 70% of cancer deaths occur in low to middle income countries. 
    My mother lived in Malaysia back in 1980, which was a low to middle income country. She died. Her sister who lived in Australia, didn't. 

  4. The annual economic cost of cancer worldwide is USD1.16 trillion.
    Take a moment. Let that sink in.

Bleak right? But there is some good news.

About 33% of all cancers is preventable

Cervical cancer is one of the most curable and preventable types of cancer. My Auntie Rani died from this, and it breaks my heart when I think that now, the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine could have saved her life. I'm in awe that medical science has got this amazing vaccine that can save women's lives worldwide. Because devastatingly, worldwide a woman dies of cervical cancer every 2 minutes

There are also known factors which increase cancer risk. Most of these we have some control over, others - genetics - we can't.

We all know that leading a healthier lifestyle, not being obese, reducing tobacco and alcohol are some of the big factors that will undoubtedly just make us healthier in all aspects. But, being human, it's not always easy to make these changes to our lives. But we can start.

About 3.7 million lives could be saved every year with education on prevention, early detection, and treatment.

I found out I had cancer from a routine mammogram. My tumour was tiny, only 5mm in width. But it was still the aggressive kind. So if I had missed that mammogram that year, then it would have grown very quickly, and frankly - I may not be here right now. 

One of the ways I'm trying to help other women is to preach early detection. We have to be aware, we have to be vigilant, and we have to continue to remind those we love to do the same.

What now?

Just keep talking about it. Speak about your tests, talk about your treatment. Don't be silent about it.

The World Cancer Day Site  has some great ideas on how you can get involved. 

Get yourself tested for cancers you're worried about.

And if you know someone who is going through it right now, then ask them this question :

"What Can I do right now, today, that would help you the most?"

 

#IAmAndIWill #WorldCancerDay #BreastCancer #CancerSurvivor



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