Monday, July 14, 2008

The C Word

Cancer. One of the worst words in the dictionary. One of the worst words a person wants to hear over the phone, at the doctor's office, from a friend or in an email.

I have been told yet another person I know is meeting with a surgeon today about the C word.

I am attending a funeral today for a close friend's mother in law who passed away from cancer.

I am personally glad that science has come so far in finding ways to treat and cure many different kinds of cancer, such as breast cancer. Someone very close to me has a great chance for a cure because of research and the science behind it. There are some cancers out there, such as pancreatic cancer, that do not hold as much hope.

But I also wonder how much money is going into research to study and understand PREVENTION. Breast cancer seems to be becoming an epidemic. Yes, there are risk factors the cancer experts know about. But what about all the women out there who do not have any of those risk factors and are still finding themselves faced with this disease?

Oddly enough, the pills that the pharmaceutical companies have developed to 'help' women have 'helped' them be at a higher risk for breast cancer. Every doctor my family member has seen in her early journey with this disease has asked her if she has taken the Pill earlier in life or hormone replacement therapy during menopause. How many women taking these 'helpers' know that?

I don't know much about this C word. My doctoring experience is limited to polysporin and bandages and kissing the owie all better. But as the days go on, and I get another email or phone call telling me about yet another mother, grandmother, aunt or friend who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, my concern escalates, my reading intensifies and more questions are left unanswered.

I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this subject. I have three daughters and three sisters. I want this round of breast cancer in our family to be the one and only.

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